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S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 







Crrr^M ft' Xy^ 


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New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street 

Copyright, 1882, 

All rights reserved. 

The Riverside Press, Cambridge : 
Stereotyped and Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Co. 



Introduction v-xxv 

Letters 1-261 


Remarks of Wendell Phillips at the Funeral of Mi's. Child 263 
" Within the Gate," by John G. Whittier . ... 269 
List of Mrs. Child's Works 272 

Index 275 


In presenting to the public this memorial volume, 
its compilers deemed that a brief biographical intro- 
duction was necessary ; and as a labor of love I have 
not been able to refuse their request to prepare it. 

Lydia Maria Francis was born in Medford, Massa- 
chusetts, February 11, 1802. Her father, David 
Francis, was a worthy and substantial citizen of that 
town. Her brother, Con vers Francis, afterwards 
theological professor in Harvard College, was some 
years older than herself, and assisted her in her early 
home studies, though, with the perversity of an elder 
brother, he sometimes mystified her in answering her 
questions. Once, when she wished to know what was 
meant by Shakespeare's " raven down of darkness," 
which was made to smile when smoothed, he ex- 
plained that it was only the fur of a black cat, which 
sparkled when stroked ! Later in life this brother 
wrote of her, " She has been a dear, good sister to 
me : would that I had been half as good a brother to 
her." Her earliest teacher was an aged spinster, 
known in the village as " Marm Betty," painfully 
shy, and with many oddities of person and manner, 
the never-forgotten calamity of whose life was that 
Governor Brooks once saw her drinking out of the 
nose of her tea-kettle. Her school was in her bed- 
room, always untidy, and she was a constant chewer 


of tobacco ; but the children were fond of her, and 
Maria and her father always carried her a good Sun- 
day dinner. Thomas W. Higginson, in " Eminent 
Women of the Age," mentions in this connection 
that, according to an established custom, on the 
night before Thanksgiving " all the humble friends 
of the Francis household — Marm Betty, the washer- 
woman, wood-sawyer, and journeymen, some twenty 
or thirty in all — were summoned to a preliminary 
entertainment. They there partook of an immense 
chicken pie, pumpkin pie made in milk-pans, and 
heaps of doughnuts. They feasted in the large, old- 
fashioned kitchen ; and went away loaded with crack- 
ers and bread and pies, not forgetting 'turnovers' 
for the children. Such plain application of the doc- 
trine that it is more blessed to give than receive 
may have done more to mould the character of Lydia 
Maria Child of maturer years than all the faithful 
labors of good Dr. Osgood, to whom she and her 
brother used to repeat the Assembly's catechism once 
a month." 

Her education was limited to the public schools, 
with the exception of one year at a private seminary 
in her native town. From a note by her brother, Dr. 
Francis, we learn that when twelve years of age she 
went to Norridgewock, Maine, where her married sis- 
ter resided. At Dr. Brown's, in Skowhegan, she first 
read " Waverley." She was greatly excited, and ex- 
claimed, as she laid down the book, " Why cannot I 
write a novel ? " She remained in Norridgewock and 
vicinity for several years, and on her return to Massa- 
chusetts took up her abode with her brother at Water- 
town. He encouraged her literary tastes, and it was 
in his study that she commenced her first story, 


" Hobomok," which she published in the twenty-first 
year of her age. The success it met with induced 
her to give to the public, soon after, " The Rebels : a 
Tale of the Revolution," which was at once received 
into popular favor, and ran rapidly through several 
editions. Then followed in close succession " The 
Mother's Book," running through eight American 
editions, twelve English, and one German, " The 
Girl's Book," the " History of Women," and the 
"Frugal Housewife," of which thirty-five editions 
were published. Her " Juvenile Miscellany " was 
commenced in 1826. 

It is not too much to say that half a century ago 
she was the most popular literary woman in the 
United States. She had published historical novels 
of unquestioned power of description and character- 
ization, and was widely and favorably known as the 
editor of the " Juvenile Miscellany," which was prob- 
ably the first periodical in the English tongue devoted 
exclusively to children, and to which she was by far 
the largest contributor. Some of the tales and poems 
from her pen were extensively copied and greatly ad- 
mired. It was at this period that the " North Ameri- 
can Review," the highest literary authority of the 
country, said of her, " We are not sure that any 
woman of our country could outrank Mrs. Child. 
This lady has been long before the public as an au- 
thor with much success. And she well deserves it, 
for in all her works nothing can be found which does 
not commend itself, by its tone of healthy morality 
and good sense. Few female writers, if any, have 
done more or better things for our literature in the 
lighter or graver departments." 

Comparatively young, she had placed herself in 


the front rank of American authorship. Her books 
and her magazine had a large circulation, and were 
affording her a comfortable income, at a time when 
*the rewards of authorship were uncertain and at the 
best scanty. 

In 1828 she married David Lee Child, Esq., a 
young and able lawyer, and took up her residence in 
Boston. In 1831-32 both became deeply interested 
in the subject of slavery, through the writings and 
personal influence of William Lloyd Garrison. Her 
husband, a member of the Massachusetts legislature 
and editor of the " Massachusetts Journal," had, at 
an earlier date, denounced the project of the dismem- 
berment of Mexico for the purpose of strengthening 
and extending American slavery. He was one of the 
earliest members of the New England Anti-Slavery 
Society, and his outspoken hostility to the peculiar 
institution greatly and unfavorably affected his inter- 
ests as a lawyer. In 1832 he addressed a series of 
able letters on slavery and the slave-trade to Edward 
S. Abdy, a prominent English philanthropist. In 1836 
he published in Philadelphia ten strongly written ar- 
ticles on the same subject. He visited England and 
France in 1837, and while in Paris addressed an elab- 
orate memoir to the Societe* pour 1' Abolition d'Escla- 
vage, and a paper on the same subject to the editor 
of the " Eclectic Review," in London. To his facts 
and arguments John Quincy Adams was much in- 
debted in the speeches which he delivered in Con- 
gress on the Texas question. 

In 1833 the American Anti-Slavery Society was 
formed by a convention in Philadelphia. Its num- 
bers were small, and it was everywhere spoken against. 
It was at this time that Lydia Maria Child startled 


the country by the publication of her noble " Appeal 
in behalf of that Class of Americans called Africans." 
It is quite impossible for any one of the present gen- 
eration to imagine the popular surprise and indigna- 
tion which the book called forth, or how entirely its 
author cut herself off from the favor and sympathy 
of a large number of those who had previously de- 
lighted to do her honor. Social and literary circles, 
which had been proud of her presence, closed their 
doors against her. The sale of her books, the sub- 
scriptions to her magazine, fell off to a ruinous ex- 
tent. She knew all she was hazarding, and made the 
great sacrifice, prepared for all the consequences which 
followed. In the preface to her book she says, " I 
am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have 
undertaken ; but though I expect ridicule and censure, 
I do not fear them. A few years hence, the opinion 
of the world will be a matter in which I have not 
even the most transient interest ; but this book will 
be abroad on its mission of humanity long after the 
hand that wrote it is mingling with the dust. Should 
it be the means of advancing, even one single hour, 
the inevitable progress of truth and justice, I would 
not exchange the consciousness for all Rothschild's 
wealth or Sir Walter's fame." 

Thenceforth her life was a battle ; a constant row- 
ing hard against the stream of popular prejudice and 
hatred. And through it all — pecuniary privation, 
loss of friends and position, the painfulness of being 
suddenly thrust from " the still air of delightful stud- 
ies " into the bitterest and sternest controversy of the 
age — she bore herself with patience, fortitude, and 
unshaken reliance upon the justice and ultimate tri- 
umph of the cause she had espoused. Her pen was 


never idle. Wherever there was a brave word to be 
spoken, her voice was heard, and never without effect. 
It is not exaggeration to say that no man or woman 
at that period rendered more substantial service to 
the cause of freedom, or made such a " great renun- 
ciation " in doing it. 

A practical philanthropist, she had the courage of 
her convictions, and from the first was no mere closet 
moralist, or sentimental bewailer of the woes of hu- 
manity. She was the Samaritan stooping over the 
wounded Jew. She calmly and unflinchingly took 
her place by the side of the despised slave and free 
man of color, and in word and act protested against 
the cruel prejudice which shut out its victims from 
the rights and privileges of American citizens. Her 
philanthropy had no taint of fanaticism ; through- 
out the long struggle, in which she was a prominent 
actor, she kept her fine sense of humor, good taste, 
and sensibility to the beautiful in art and nature. 1 

1 The opposition she met with from those who had shared her con- 
fidence and friendship was of course keenly felt, but her kindly and 
genial disposition remained unsoured. She rarely spoke of her per- 
sonal trials, and never posed as a martyr. The nearest approach to 
anything like complaint is in the following lines, the date of which I 
have not been able to ascertain : — 


Few in the days of early youth 
Trusted like me in love and truth. 
I've learned sad lessons from the years, 
But slowly, and with many tears ; 
For God made me to kindly view 
The world that I am passing through. 

Though kindness and forbearance long 
Must meet ingratitude and wrong, 
I still would bless my fellow-men, 
And trust them though deceived again. 
God help me still to kindly view 
The world that I am passing through. 


While faithful to the great duty which she felt was 
laid upon her in an especial manner, she was by no 
means a reformer of one idea, but her interest was 
manifested in every question affecting the welfare of 
humanity. Peace, temperance, education, prison re- 
form, and equality of civil rights, irrespective of sex, 
engaged her attention. Under all the disadvantages 
of her estrangement from popular favor, her charming 
Greek romance of " Philothea" and her Lives of Ma- 
dame Roland and the Baroness de Stael proved that 
her literary ability had lost nothing of its strength, 
and that the hand which penned such terrible rebukes 
had still kept its delicate touch, and gracefully 
yielded to the inspiration of fancy and art. While 
engaged with her husband in the editorial supervision 
of the " Anti-Slavery Standard," she wrote her ad- 
mirable "Letters from New York;" humorous, elo- 
quent, and picturesque, but still humanitarian in 
tone, which extorted the praise of even a pro-slavery 

From all that fate has brought to me 

I strive to learn humility, 

And trust in Him who rules above, 

Whose universal law is love. 

Thus only can I kindly view 

The world that I am passing through. 

When I approach the setting sun, 
And feel my journey well-nigh done, 
May earth be veiled in genial light, 
And her last smile to me seem bright. 
Help me till then to kindly view 
The world that I am passing through. 

And all who tempt a trusting heart 

From faith and hope to drift apart, 

May they themselves be spared the pain 

Of losing power to trust again. 

God help us all to kindly'view 

The world that we are passing through ! 


community. Her great work, in three octavo vol- 
umes, " The Progress of Religious Ideas," belongs, in 
part, to that period. It is an attempt to represent 
in a candid, unprejudiced manner the rise and prog- 
ress of the great religions of the world, and their 
ethical relations to each other. She availed herself 
of, and carefully studied, the authorities at that 
time accessible, and the result is creditable to her 
scholarship, industry, and conscientiousness. If, in 
her desire to do justice to the religions of Buddha 
and Mohammed, in which she has been followed by 
Maurice, Max Muller, and Dean Stanley, she seems 
at times to dwell upon the best and overlook the 
darker features of those systems, her concluding re- 
flections should vindicate her from the charge of un- 
dervaluing the Christian faith, or of lack of reverent 
appreciation of its founder. In the closing chapter 
of her work, in which the large charity and broad 
sympathies of her nature are manifest, she thus turns 
with words of love, warm from the heart, to Him 
whose Sermon on the Mount includes most that is 
good and true and vital in the religions and philoso- 
phies of the world : — 

" It was reserved for Him to heal the broken- 
hearted, to preach a gospel to the poor, to say, 
4 Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved 
much.' Nearly two thousand years have passed away 
since these words of love and pity were uttered, yet 
when I read them my eyes fill with tears. I thank 
Thee, O Heavenly Father, for all the messengers thou 
hast sent to man ; but, above all, I thank Thee for 
Him, thy beloved Son ! Pure lily blossom of the 
centuries, taking root in the lowliest depths, and re- 
ceiving the light and warmth of heaven in its golden 


heart ! All that the pious have felt, all that poets 
have said, all that artists have done, with their man- 
ifold forms of beauty, to represent the ministry of 
Jesus, are but feeble expressions of the great debt 
we owe Him who is even now curing the lame, restor- 
ing sight to the blind, and raising the dead in that 
spiritual sense wherein all miracle is true." 

During her stay in New York, as editor of the 
" Anti-Slavery Standard," she found a pleasant home 
at the residence of the genial philanthropist, Isaac T. 
Hopper, whose remarkable life she afterwards wrote. 
Her portrayal of this extraordinary man, so brave, 
so humorous, so tender and faithful to his convictions 
of duty, is one of the most readable pieces of biogra- 
phy in English literature. Thomas Wentworth Hig- 
ginson, in a discriminating paper published in 1869, 
speaks of her eight years' sojourn in New York as 
the most interesting and satisfactory period of her 
whole life. " She was placed where her sympathetic 
nature found abundant outlet and occupation. Dwell- 
ing in a house where disinterestedness and noble 
labor were as daily breath, she had great opportuni- 
ties. There was no mere alms-giving ; but sin and 
sorrow must be brought home to the fireside and the 
heart ; the fugitive slave, the drunkard, the outcast 
woman, must be the chosen guests of the abode, — 
must be taken, and held, and loved into reformation 
or hope." 

It would be a very imperfect representation of 
Maria Child which regarded her only from a literary 
point of view. She was wise in counsel ; and men 
like Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, Salmon P. Chase, 
and Governor Andrew availed themselves of her fore- 
sight and sound judgment of men and measures. Her 


pen was busy with correspondence, and whenever a 
true man or a good cause needed encouragement, she 
was prompt to give it. Her donations for benevolent 
causes and beneficent reforms were constant and lib- 
eral ; and only those who knew her intimately could 
understand the cheerful and unintermitted self-denial 
which alone enabled her to make them. She did her 
work as far as possible out of sight, without noise or 
pretension. Her time, talents, and money were held 
not as her own, but a trust from the Eternal Father 
for the benefit of His suffering children. Her plain, 
cheap dress was glorified by the generous motive for 
which she wore it. Whether in the crowded city 
among the sin-sick and starving, or among the poor 
and afflicted in the neighborhood of her country home, 
no story of suffering and need, capable of alleviation, 
ever reached her without immediate sympathy and 
corresponding action. Lowell, one of her warmest 
admirers, in his " Fable for Critics " has beautifully 
portrayed her abounding benevolence : — 

" There comes Philothea, her face all aglow, 
She has just been dividing some poor creature's woe, 
And can't tell which pleases her most, to relieve 
His want, or his story to hear and believe ; 
No doubt against many deep griefs she prevails, 
For her ear is the refuge of destitute tales ; 
She knows well that silence is sorrow's best food, 
And that talking draws off from the heart its black blood." 

" The pole, science tells us, the magnet controls, 
But she is a magnet to emigrant Poles, 
And folks with a mission that nobody knows, 
Throng thickly about her as bees round a rose ; 
She can fill up the carets in such, make their scope 
Converge to some focus of rational hope, 
And, with sympathies fresh as the morning, their gall 
Can transmute into honey, — but this is not all ; 
Not only for those she has solace ; O, say, 


Vice's desperate nursling adrift in Broadway, 

Who clingest, with all that is loft of thee human, 

To the last slender spar from the wreck of the woman, 

Hast thou not found one shore where those tired drooping feet 

Could reach firm mother-earth, one full heart on whose beat 

The soothed head in silence reposing could hear 

The chimes of far childhood throb back on the ear 1 

Ah, there's many a beam from the fountain of day 

That, to reach us unclouded, must pass, on its way, 

Through the soul of a woman, and hers is wide ope 

To the influence of Heaven as the blue eyes of Hope ; 

Yes, a great heart is hers, one that dares to go in 

To the prison, the slave-hut, the alleys of sin, 

And to bring into each, or to find there, some line 

Of the never completely out-trampled divine ; 

If her heart at high floods swamps her brain now and then, 

'T is but richer for that when the tide ebbs agen, 

As, after old Nile has subsided, his plain 

Overflows with a second broad deluge of grain ; 

What a wealth would it bring to the narrow and sour, 

Could they be as a Child but for one little hour ! " 

After leaving New York her husband and herself 
took up their residence in the rural town of Way- 
land, Mass. Their house, plain and unpretentious, 
had a wide and pleasant outlook; a flower garden, 
carefully tended by her own hands, in front, and on 
the side a fruit orchard and vegetable garden, under 
the special care of her husband. The house was al- 
ways neat, with some appearance of unostentatious 
decoration, evincing at once the artistic taste of the 
hostess and the conscientious economy which forbade 
its indulgence to any great extent. Her home was 
somewhat apart from the lines of rapid travel, and 
her hospitality was in a great measure confined to old 
and intimate friends, while her visits to the city were 
brief and infrequent. A friend of hers, who had 
ample opportunities for a full knowledge of her 
home-life, says, " The domestic happiness of Mr. and 


Mrs. Child seemed to me perfect. Their sympathies, 
their admiration of all things good, and their hearty 
hatred of all things mean and evil were in entire 
unison. Mr. Child shared his wife's enthusiasms, and 
was very proud of her. Their affection, never pa- 
raded, was always manifest. After Mr. Child's 
death, Mrs. Child, in speaking of the future life, 
said, ' I believe it would be of small value to me if 
I were not united to him.' " 

In this connection I cannot forbear to give an ex- 
tract from some reminiscences of her husband, which 
she left among her papers, which, better than any 
words of mine, will convey an idea of their simple and 
beautiful home-life : — 

" In 1852 we made a humble home iu Wayland, Mass., 
where we spent twenty-two pleasant years entirely alone, 
without any domestic, mutually serving each other, and de- 
pendent upon each other for intellectual companionship. I 
always depended on his richly stored mind, which was able 
and ready to furnish needed information on any subject. 
He was my walking dictionary of many languages, my Uni- 
versal Encyclopedia. 

" In his old age he was as affectionate and devoted as 
when the lover of my youth ; nay, he manifested even more 
tenderness. He was often singing, — 

" ' There 's nothing half so sweet in life 
As Love's old dream/ 

"Very often, when he passed by me, he would lay his 
hand softly on my head and murmur, * Carum caput.' . . . 
But what I remember with the most tender gratitude is his 
uniform patience and forbearance with my faults. . . . He 
never would see anything but the bright side of my character. 
He always insisted upon thinking that whatever I said was 
the wisest and the wittiest, and that whatever I did was the 
best. The simplest little jeu (Tesprit of mine seemed to 


him woDderfully witty. Once, when he said, ' I wish for 
your sake, dear, I were as rich as Croesus,' I answered, 
* You are Croesus, for you are king of Lydia.' How often 
he used to quote that ! 

" His mind was unclouded to the last. He had a passion 
for philology, and only eight hours before he passed away 
he was searching out the derivation of a word." 

Her well-stored mind and fine conversational gifts 
made her company always desirable. No one who 
listened to her can forget the earnest eloquence with 
which she used to dwell upon the evidences from his- 
•tory, tradition, and experience, of the superhuman 
and supernatural; or with what eager interest she 
detected in the mysteries of the old religions of the 
world the germs of a purer faith and a holier hope. 
She loved to listen, as in St. Pierre's symposium of 
"The Coffee-House of Surat," to the confessions of 
faith of all sects and schools of philosophy, Christian 
and pagan, and gather from them the consoling truth 
that our Father has nowhere left his children without 
some witness of himself. She loved the old mystics, 
and lingered with curious interest and sympathy over 
the writings of Bohme, Swedenborg, Molinos, and 
Woolman. Yet this marked speculative tendency- 
seemed not in the slightest degree to affect her prac- 
tical activities. Her mysticism and realism ran in 
close parallel lines without interfering with each other. 
With strong rationalistic tendencies from education 
and conviction, she found herself in spiritual accord 
with the pious introversion of Thomas a Kempis 
and Madame Guion. She was fond of Christmas Eve 
stories, of warnings, signs, and spiritual intimations, 
her half belief in which sometimes seemed like cre- 
dulity to her auditors. James Russell Lowell, in his 


tender tribute to her, playfully alludes to this charac- 
teristic : — 

" She has such a musical taste that she '11 go 
Any distance to hear one who draws a long bow. 
She will swallow a wonder by mere might and main." 

In 1859 the descent of John Brown upon Harper's 
Ferry, and his capture, trial, and death, startled the 
nation. When the news reached her that the mis- 
guided but noble old man lay desperately wounded 
in prison, alone and unfriended, she wrote him a let- 
ter, under cover of one to Governor Wise, asking per- 
mission to go and nurse and care for him. The ex- 
pected arrival of Captain Brown's wife made her 
generous offer unnecessary. The prisoner wrote her, 
thanking her, and asking her to help his family, a re- 
quest with which she faithfully complied. With his 
letter came one from Governor Wise, in courteous re- 
proval of her sympathy for John Brown. To this she 
responded in an able and effective manner. Her re- 
ply found its way from Virginia to the New York 
" Tribune," and soon after Mrs. Mason, of King 
George's County, wife of Senator Mason, the author 
of the infamous Fugitive Slave Law, wrote her a ve- 
hement letter, commencing with threats of future 
damnation, and ending with assuring her that " no 
Southerner, after reading her letter to Governor Wise, 
ought to read a line of her composition, or touch a 
magazine which bore her name in its list of contrib- 
utors." To this she wrote a calm, dignified reply, 
declining to dwell on the fierce invectives of her as- 
sailant, and wishing her well here and hereafter. She 
would not debate the specific merits or demerits of a 
man whose body was in charge of the courts, and 
whose reputation was sure to be in charge of poster 


ity. " Men," she continues, " are of small conse- 
quence in comparison with principles, and the princi- 
ple for which John Brown died is the question at 
issue between us." These letters were soon published 
in pamphlet form, and had the immense circulation 
of 300,000 copies. 

In 1867 she published " A Romance of the Repub- 
lic," a story of the days of slavery ; powerful in its 
delineation of some of the saddest as well as the most 
dramatic conditions of master and slave in the South- 
ern States. Her husband, who had been long an 
invalid, died in 1874. After his death her home, in 
winter especially, became a lonely one ; and in 1877 
she began to spend the cold months in Boston. 

Her last publication was in 1878, when her "As- 
pirations of the World," a book of selections, on 
moral and religious subjects, from the literature of all 
nations and times, was given to the public. The in- 
troduction, occupying fifty pages, shows, at three- 
score and ten, her mental vigor unabated, and is re- 
markable for its wise, philosophic tone and felicity of 
diction. It has the broad liberality of her more elab- 
orate work on the same subject, and in the mellow 
light of life's sunset her words seem touched with a 
tender pathos and beauty. " All we poor mortals," 
she says, " are groping our way through paths that 
are dim with shadows ; and we are all striving, with 
steps more or less stumbling, to follow some guiding 
star. As we travel on, beloved companions of our 
pilgrimage vanish from our sight, we know not 
whither ; and our bereaved hearts utter cries of sup- 
plication for more light. We know not where 
Hermes Trismegistus lived, or who he was ; but his 
voice sounds plaintively human, coming up from the 


depths of the ages, calling out, ' Thou art God ! and 
thy man crieth these things unto Thee ! ' Thus closely 
allied in our sorrows and limitations, in our aspira- 
tions and hopes, surely we ought not to be separated 
in our sympathies. However various the names by 
which we call the Heavenly Father, if they are set to 
music by brotherly love, they can all be sung to- 

Her interest in the welfare of the emancipated 
class at the South and of the ill-fated Indians of the 
West remained unabated, and she watched with 
great satisfaction the experiment of the education of 
both classes in General Armstrong's institution at 
Hampton, Va. She omitted no opportunity of aid- 
ing the greatest social reform of the age, which aims 
to make the civil and political rights of woman equal 
to those of men. Her sympathies, to the last, went 
out instinctively to the wronged and weak. She used 
to excuse her vehemence in this respect by laugh- 
ingly quoting lines from a poem entitled " The Un- 
der Dog in the Fight " : — 

" I know that the world, the great big world, 
Will never a moment stop 
To see which dog may be in the wrong, 
But will shout for the dog on top. 

" But for me I never shall pause to ask 
Which dog may be in the right ; 
For my heart will beat, while it beats at all, 
For the under dog in the fight." 

I am indebted to a gentleman who was at one time 
a resident of Way land, and who enjoyed her confi- 
dence and warm friendship, for the following impres- 
sions of her life in that place : — 


" On one of the last beautiful Indian summer afternoons, 
closing the past year, I drove through Wayland, and was 
anew impressed with the charm of our friend's simple exist- 
ence there. The tender beauty of the fading year seemed 
a reflection of her own gracious spirit ; the lovely autumn 
of her life, whose golden atmosphere the frosts of sorrow 
and advancing age had only clarified and brightened. 

" My earliest recollection of Mrs. Child in Wayland is of 
a gentle face leaning from the old stage window, smiling 
kindly down on the childish figures beneath her ; and from 
that moment her gracious motherly presence has been 
closely associated with the charm of rural beauty in that 
village, which until very lately has been quite apart from 
the line of travel, and unspoiled by the rush and worry of 
our modern steam-car mode of living. 

" Mrs. Child's life in the place made, indeed, an atmos- 
phere of its own, a benison of peace and good- will, which 
was a noticeable feature to all who were acquainted with 
the social feeling of the little community, refined, as it was 
too, by the elevating influence of its distinguished pastor, 
Dr. Sears. Many are the acts of loving kindness and ma- 
ternal care which could be chronicled of her residence there, 
were we permitted to do so ; and numberless are the lives 
that have gathered their onward impulse from her helping 
hand. But it was all a confidence which she hardly be- 
trayed to her inmost self, and I will not recall instances 
which might be her grandest eulogy. Her monument is 
builded in the hearts which knew her benefactions, and it 
will abide with ' the power that makes for righteousness." 

" One of the pleasantest elements of her life in Wayland 
was the high regard she won from the people of the village, 
who, proud of her literary attainment, valued yet more the 
noble womanhood of the friend who dwelt so modestly 
among them. The grandeur of her exalted personal char- 
acter had, in part, eclipsed for them the qualities which 
made her fame with the world outside. 


" The little house on the quiet by-road overlooked broad 
green meadows. The pond behind it, where bloom the lilies 
whose spotless purity may well symbolize her gentle spirit, 
is a sacred pool to her townsfolk. But perhaps the most 
fitting similitude of her life in Wayland was the quiet flow of 
the river, whose gentle curves make green her meadows, 
but whose powerful energy, joining the floods from distant 
mountains, moves, with resistless might, the busy shuttles 
of a hundred mills. She was too truthful to affect to wel- 
come unwarrantable invaders of her peace, but no weary 
traveler on life's hard ways ever applied to her in vain. 
The little garden plot before her door was a sacred inclos- 
ure, not to be rudely intruded upon ; but the flowers she 
tended with maternal care were no selfish possession, for 
her own enjoyment only, and many are the lives their 
sweetness has gladdened forever. So she lived among a 
singularly peaceful and intelligent community as one of 
themselves, industrious, wise, and happy ; with a frugality 
whose motive of wider benevolence was in itself a homily 
and a benediction." 

In my last interview with her, our conversation, as 
had often happened before, turned upon the great 
theme of the future life. She spoke, as I remember, 
calmly and not uncheerfully, but with the intense 
earnestness and reverent curiosity of one who felt al- 
ready the shadow of the unseen world resting upon 

Her death was sudden and quite unexpected. For 
some months she had been troubled with a rheumatic 
affection, but it was by no means regarded as serious. 
A friend, who visited her a few days before her de- 
parture, found her in a comfortable condition, apart 
from lameness. She talked of the coming election 
with much interest, and of her plans for the winter. 
On the morning of her death (October 20, 1880) she 


spoke of feeling remarkably well. Before leaving her 
chamber she complained of severe pain in the region 
of the heart. Help was called by her companion, but 
only reached her to witness her quiet passing away. 

The funeral was, as befitted one like her, plain and 
simple. Many of her old friends were present, and 
Wendell Phillips paid an affecting and eloquent trib- 
ute to his old friend and anti-slavery coadjutor. He 
referred to the time when she accepted, with serene 
self-sacrifice, the obloquy which her " Appeal " had 
brought upon her, and noted, as one of the many ways 
in which popular hatred was manifested, the with- 
drawal from her of the privileges of the Boston Athe- 
naeum. Her pall-bearers were elderly, plain farmers 
in the neighborhood ; and, led by the old white-haired 
undertaker, the procession wound its way to the not 
distant 'burial-ground, over the red and gold of fallen 
leaves, and under the half-clouded October sky. A 
lover of all beautiful things, she was, as her intimate 
friends knew, always delighted by the sight of rain- 
bows, and used to so arrange prismatic glasses as to 
throw the colors on the walls of her room. Just after 
her body was consigned to the earth, a magnificent 
rainbow spanned, with its arc of glory, the eastern 
sky. 1 

i The incident at her burial is alluded to in a Sonnet written by 
William P. Andrews : — 

" Freedom ! she knew thy summons, and obeyed 
That clarion voice as yet scarce heard of men ; 
Gladly she joined thy red-cross service when 
Honor and wealth must at thy feet be laid : 
Onward with faith undaunted, undismayed 
By threat or scorn, she toiled with hand and brain 
To make thy cause triumphant, till the chain 
Lay broken, and for her the freedmen prayed. 
Nor yet she faltered ; in her tender care 


The letters in this collection constitute but a small 
part of her large correspondence. They have been 
gathered up and arranged by the hands of dear rela- 
tives and friends as a fitting memorial of one who 
wrote from the heart as well as the head, and who 
held her literary reputation subordinate always to 
her philanthropic aim to lessen the sum of human 
suffering, and to make the world better for her living. 
If they sometimes show the heat and impatience of a 
zealous reformer, they may well be pardoned in con- 
sideration of the circumstances under which they were 
written, and of the natural indignation of a gener- 
ous nature in view of wrong and oppression. If she 
touched with no very reverent hand the garment 
hem of dogmas, and held to the spirit of Scripture 
rather than its letter, it must be remembered that she 
lived in a time when the Bible was cited in defense 
of slavery, as it is now in Utah in support of polyg- 
amy ; and she may well be excused for some degree 
of impatience with those who, in the tithing of mint 
and anise and cummin, neglected the weightier mat- 
ters of the law of justice and mercy. 

Of the men and women directly associated with 
the beloved subject of this sketch, but few are now 
left to recall her single-hearted devotion to appre- 
hended duty, her unselfish generosity, her love of all 
beauty and harmony, and her trustful reverence, free 
from pretence and cant. It is not unlikely that the 
surviving sharers of her love and friendship may feel 
the nadequateness of this brief imemorial, for I close 

She took us all ; and wheresoe'er she went, 
Blessings, and Faith and Beauty, followed there, 
E'en to the end, where she lay down content: 
And with the gold light of a life more fair, 
Twin bows of promise o'er her grave were blent." 


it with the consciousness of having failed to fully de- 
lineate the picture which my memory holds of a wise 
and brave, but tender and loving woman, of whom it 
might well have been said, in the words of the old 
Hebrew text, "Many daughters have done virtu- 
ously, but thou excellest them all." 



Norridgewock [Maine], June 5, 1817. 

My dear Brother, 1 — I have been busily en- 
gaged in reading " Paradise Lost." Homer hurried 
me along with rapid impetuosity ; every passion that 
he portrayed I felt: I loved, hated, and resented, just 
as he inspired me ! But when I read Milton, I felt 
elevated " above this visible diurnal sphere." I 
could not but admire such astonishing grandeur of 
description, such heavenly sublimity of style. I never 
read a poem that displayed a more prolific fancy, or 
a more vigorous genius. But don't you think that 
Milton asserts the superiority of his own sex in rather 
too lordly a manner ? Thus, when Eve is convers- 
ing with Adam, she is made to say, — 

" My author and disposer, what thou bid'st 
Unargu'd I obey ; so God ordained. 
God is thy law, thou mine : to know no more 
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise." 

Perhaps you will smile at the freedom with which 
I express my opinion concerning the books which I 
have been reading. I acknowledge it might have the 
appearance of pedantry, if I were writing to any one 
but a brother ; when I write to you, I feel perfectly 

1 This letter, the earliest received by the compilers, was written when 
Miss Francis was fifteen years old. 


unrestrained ; for I feel satisfied that you will excuse 
a little freedom of expression from a sister, who will- 
ingly acknowledges the superiority of your talents 
and advantages, and who fully appreciates your con- 
descension and kindness. 


Norridgewock, September, 1817. 

I perceive that I never shall convert you to my 
opinions concerning Milton's treatment to our sex. 

Whether the ideas I have formed of that author 
be erroneous or not, they are entirely my own. I 
knew Johnson was a violent opponent to Milton, 
both in political and religious concerns ; but I had 
never seen, or heard, of any of his remarks upon his 
poetical productions. Much as I admire Milton, I 
must confess that Homer is a much greater favorite 
with me. " Paradise Lost" is unquestionably the sub- 
limest effort of human genius. It fixes us in a state 
of astonishment and wonder ; but it is not character- 
ized by that impetuosity and animation which, I 
think, gives to poetry its greatest charm. 


February 3, 1819. 

I have been reading " Guy Mannering." I admire 
it for its originality. Dominie Sampson is certainly 
a character that never had a precedent. Meg Mer- 
rilies has something of that wild enthusiasm which 
characterizes the wife of MacGregor ; and there is a 
nameless something in her character which corre- 
sponds with the awful grandeur of Highland scenery. 

Don't you think that the spells of the gypsy and 
the astrology of Mannering might have considerable 


effect upon the superstitious mind by being left en- 
tirely unaccounted for ? I should be almost tempted 
to leave sober history, and repair to these Scottish 
novels for instruction, as well as amusement, were 
not the historical views which they afford almost 
entirely confined to Scotland. The author seems to 
possess great versatility of talent. Almost all the 
sciences seem to have had a share of his attention ; 
and his observations on human nature seem to be 
peculiarly accurate. I think I shall go to Scotland 
(you see that my head is full of rocks and crags and 
dark blue lakes ; however, you know that I mean 
Portsmouth) very soon. I always preferred the im- 
petuous grandeur of the cataract to the gentle me- 
anderings of the rill, and spite of all that is said about 
gentleness, modesty, and timidity in the heroine of a 
novel or poem, give me the mixture of pathos and 
grandeur exhibited in the character of Meg Mer- 
rilies ; or the wild dignity of Diana Vernon, with all 
the freedom of a Highland maiden in her step and in 
her eye ; or the ethereal figure Annot Lyle, — " the 
lightest and most fairy figure that ever trod the turf 
by moonlight ; " or even the lofty contempt of life 
and danger which, though not unmixed with ferocity, 
throws such a peculiar interest around Helen Mac- 

In life I am aware that gentleness and modesty 
form the distinguished ornaments of our sex. But 
in description they cannot captivate the imagination, 
nor rivet the attention. 

Do you know you have a great many questions to 
answer me ? Do not forget that I asked you about 
the " flaming cherubims," the effects of distance, 
horizontal or perpendicular, " Orlando Furioso," and 
Lord Byron. 



Norridgewock, November 21, 1819. 
I have long indulged the hope of reading Virgil 
in his own tongue. I have not yet relinquished it. 
I look forward to a certain time when I expect that 
hope, with many others, will be realized. ... I usu- 
ally spend an hour, after I retire for the night, in 
reading Gibbon's " Roman Empire." The pomp of 
his style at first displeased me ; but I think him an 
admirable historian. There is a degree of dignified 
elegance about this work which I think well suited to 
the subject. 


Norridgewock, December 26, 1819. 
T am aware that I have been too indolent in ex- 
amining the systems of great writers ; that I have 
not enough cultivated habits of thought and reflection 
upon any subject. The consequence is, my imagina- 
tion has ripened before my judgment ; I have quick- 
ness of perception, without profoundness of thought ; 
I can at one glance take in a subject as displayed by 
another, but I am incapable of investigation. What 
time I have found since I wrote you last has been 
pretty much employed in reading Gibbon. I have 
likewise been reading Shakespeare. I had before 
taken detached views of the works of this great 
master of human nature ; but had never before read 
him. What a vigorous grasp of intellect ; what a 
glow of imagination he must have possessed ; but 
when his fancy droops a little, how apt he is to make 
low attempts at wit, and introduce a forced play upon 
words. Had he been an American, the reviewers, in 
spite of his genius, would have damned him for his 


contempt of the unities. It provokes me to see these 
critics with their pens " dipped in scorpion's gall," 
blighting the embryo buds of native genius. Neal 
must be condemned forsooth, without mercy, because 
his poem was one of genius' wildest, most erratic 
flights. Were every one as devout a worshipper at 
the shrine of genius as I am> they would admire him, 
even in his wanderings. I have been looking over 
the " Spectator." I do not think Addison so good a 
writer as Johnson, though a more polished one. The 
style of the latter is more vigorous, there is more 
nerve, if I may so express it, than in the former. In- 
deed, Johnson is my favorite among all his contem- 
poraries. I know of no author in the English lan- 
guage that writes like him. 


Winslow [Maine], March 12, 1820. 

I can't talk about books, nor anything else, until 
I tell you the good news ; that I leave Norridgewock, 
and take a school in Gardiner, as soon as the travel- 
ling is tolerable. When I go to Gardiner, remember 
to write often, for " 't is woman alone who truly feels 
what it is to be a, stranger." Did you know that 
last month I entered my nineteenth year ? 

I hope, my dear brother, that you feel as happy as 
I do. Not that I have formed any high-flown ex- 
pectations. All I expect is, that, if I am industrious 
and prudent I shall be independent. I love to feel 
like Malcolm Graeme when he says to Allan Bane, 

" Tell Roderick Dhu I owe him naught." 

Have you seen " Ivanhoe " ? The " Shakespeare of 
novelists " has struck out a new path for his versa- 
tile and daring genius, I understand. Does he walk 


with such elastic and lofty tread as when upon his 
own mountain heath ? Have his wings expanded 
since he left the hills of Cheviot ? Or was the torch 
of fancy, lighted with the electric spark of genius, ex- 
tinguished in the waters of the Tweed ? I have never 
seen it. Indeed " I have na ony speerings " about the 
literary world, except through the medium of the news- 
papers. I am sorry to see the favored son of genius 
handled with such unmerciful, though perhaps de- 
served, severity in the review of " Don Juan." " Lalla 
Rookh " is the last I have seen from the pen of " Im- 
agination's Chartered Libertine." I hope we shall 
have another collection of gems as splendid, and more 
pure, than his former collections. 


Winslow, April 10, 1820. 

I yesterday received your affectionate letter. You 
are too generous, my dear Convers. Ever since I en- 
tered my nineteenth year I have received nothing but 
presents and attention. I never was more happy in 
my life. I never possessed such unbounded elasticity 
of spirit. It seems as if my heart would vibrate to 
no touch but joy. Like old Edie Ochiltree " I wuss 
it may bode me gude." " An high heart goeth before 
destruction," but I never heard the same of a light 

In one of your last letters you promise to send me 
" Don Juan." Do not send it, I beseech you. I can 
give you no idea of the anguish I felt when I read 
this shocking specimen of fearless and hardened de- 
pravity. I felt as if a friend had betrayed me. A 
sensation somewhat similar to what I should have 
felt, had you, my dear brother, committed an action 


unworthy of humanity. I have long cherished an 
enthusiastic admiration of this great man ; I have 
long indulged the hope that when the blazing solstice 
of youth was over, autumnal reflection would shed a 
lovelier, though less brilliant, light upon his character ; 
and that some tie might be found, sacred and tender 
enough to sooth the bitter misanthropy of his feel- 
ings. But with deep regret I relinquish the hope 
forever. Still I cannot but admire thje bold efforts 
of his genius that flash through this work like the 
horrid glare of the lightning amid the terrors of a mid- 
night storm. What a pity that one who might have 
shone, the most brilliant star in the flaming zodiac of 
genius, should only be held out as a blazing beacon 
to warn others from the road to wretchedness and 
guilt. It is intolerable to think that his Pegasus has 
still to gallop over twelve more cantos of such hellish 


Gardiner [Maine], May 31, 1820. 
You need not fear my becoming a Swedenborgian. 
I am in more danger of wrecking on the rocks of 
skepticism than of stranding on the shoals of fanati- 
cism. I am apt to regard a system of religion as I do 
any other beautiful theory. It plays round the imag- 
ination, but fails to reach the heart. I wish I could 
find some religion in which my heart and understand- 
ing could unite ; that amidst the darkest clouds of 
this life I might ever be cheered with the mild halo 
of religious consolation. With respect to Paley's sys- 
tem, I believe I said in my last that if I admitted 
your position, the next step was to acknowledge the 
spontaneous growth of goodness in the human heart. 
Is this what you did not understand ? In your an- 


swer to my first letter on the subject, you say, " Is 
it always possible to foresee all the remote conse- 
quences of an action, so as to judge whether it is 
expedient or not ? And even if it were, would not 
the time for action be past before we came to the de- 
cision ? " In answer to that I made the above men- 
tioned remark. If we oftentime commit good actions 
"without time to reflect on their tendency, does it not 
argue a natural impulse to good which takes root in 
the heart before we have time to calculate its growth ? 
And now tell me plainly what system would you build 
on the ruins of Paley's ? 


December 2, 1824. Mr. Child dined with us at 
Watertown. He possesses the rich fund of an intelli- 
gent traveller without the slightest tinge of a travel- 
ler's vanity. Spoke of the tardy improvement of the 
useful arts in Spain and Italy. They still use the 
plough described by Virgil. . . . 

January 26, 1825. Saw Mr. Child at Mr. Curtis's. 
He is the most gallant man that has lived since the 
sixteenth century and needs nothing but helmet, 
shield, and chain armor to make him a complete 
knight of chivalry. 

May 3, 1825. One among the many delightful 
evenings spent with Mr. Child. I do not know 
which to admire most, the vigor of his understanding 
or the ready sparkle of his wit. Talked of the polit- 
ical position of England. Laughed as he mentioned 
the tremendous squirearchy of America. 



"Water-town, September 28, 1826. 

Dear and respected Sir, — Many times hath the 
spirit moved me to address thee by letter, but much 
fear of thy wisdom hath hitherto prevented. It is 
not that my reverence for thee hath at all decreased, 
that I now take up my pen to follow my own inclina- 
tions, but because thine absent daughter hath im- 
posed it upon me as a duty. Thou knowest well 
that Si Possum is not always more heedful of the 
voice of conscience than of her own will, and there- 
fore thou wilt conclude, and very justly withal, that 
personal affection and respect for thyself doth greatly 
move her thereunto. 

A plague on Quaker style. It gives my pen the 
numb palsy to write in thees and thous. You have 
no doubt heard from Abba often, since she began her 
journey. I miss them sadly. I come home from 
school, tired to death with nouns and verbs, and I 
find the house empty, swept, and garnished, with not 
a single indication of animated existence except the 
cat, who sits in the window from morning till night, 
winking at the sun. That is to say, when the sun is 
to be winked at ; for during the whole of this equi- 
noctial week, the skies have looked like a tub of cold 
suds. The only variety is to go to church on Sunday, 
and hear the young Cambridgians talk of " the tur- 
pitude of vice, and the moral dignity of virtue." 

Do I not remember your sayings well ? By the 
way, have you determined yet whether there is the 
most of good or evil about me ? . . . 

What do you do with yourself in these days? 
Hold high converse with Plato, or feed your sheep 


with turnips? Snarl with Diogenes, or laugh at 
neighbor Paris and his Sampson's riddle ? I wish I 
could pop down upon you, and enjoy one or two quiet 
days, but quiet does not seem to be in reserve for me. 
" How can you expect it," you will say, " when you 
are always engaged on some mad-cap enterprise or 
other ? When Hobomoks, Rebels, Miscellanies, suc- 
ceed each other, thick as hail ? " 

Do you remember, Doctor Allyn, that four years 
ago you promised me a long letter ? An honest man 
will never refuse to pay an outlawed debt. 

My Miscellany succeeds far beyond my most san- 
guine expectations. That is, people are generous be- 
yond my hopes. 

Phillips Beach [Mass.], Sunday evening, August 8, 1830. 

Dearest Husband, 1 — Here I am in a snug little 
old-fashioned parlor, at a round table, in a rocking- 
chair, writing to you, and the greatest comfort I have 
is the pen-knife you sharpened for me just before I 
came away. As you tell me sometimes, it makes 
my heart leap to see anything you have touched. 
The house here is real old-fashioned, neat, comfort- 
able, rural, and quiet. There is a homespun striped 
carpet upon the floor, two profiles over the mantle- 
piece, one of them a soldier placed in a frame rather 
one-sided, with a white shirt ruffle, a white plume, 
and a white epaulette ; a vase of flowers done in 
water colors, looking sickly and straggling about as 
if they were only neighbors-in-law, and Ophelia 
with a quantity of " carrotty " hair, which is thrown 

1 Miss Francis was married to David Lee Child, of Boston, October 
19, 1828. 


over three or four rheumatic trees, and one foot ankle 
deep in water, as if she were going to see which she 
liked best, hanging or drowning. 

These, with an old-fashioned table and desk, form a 
schedule of the furniture. The old lady is just like 
your good mother, just such honest shoulders, just 
such motions, a face very much like hers, and precisely 
the same kind motherly ways. I am sure you would 
be struck with the resemblance. I like the whole 
family extremely. They are among the best speci- 
mens of New England farmers, as simple and as 
kind as little children. The food is excellent. . . . 
In the stillness of the evening we can hear the sea 
dashing on the beach, "rolling its eternal bass " 
amid the harmony of nature. I went down to a 
little cove between two lines of rocks this morning, 
and having taken off my stockings, I let the saucy 
waves come dashing and sparkling into my lap. I 
was a little sad, because it made me think of the 
beautiful time we had, when we washed our feet 
together in the mountain waterfall. How I do wish 
you were here ! It is nonsense for me to go a " pleas- 
uring " without you. It does me no good, and every 
pleasant sight makes my heart yearn for you to be 
with me. I am very homesick for you ; and my 
private opinion is, that I shall not be able to stand it 
a whole week. As for the place itself, it is exactly 
what I wanted to find. Oh, how I do wish we had a 
snug little cottage here, and just income enough to 
meet very moderate wants. I have walked about a 
mile to-day, and got well mudded by plunging into a 
meadow after that brightest of all bright blossoms, 
the cardinal flower. My dear husband, I cannot stay 
away a week. 




Your very unexpected donation was most grate- 
fully received, though I was at first reluctant to take 
it, lest our amiable young friend had directly or in- 
directly begged the favor. 

I am so great an advocate of individual freedom 
that I would have everything done voluntarily, noth- 
ing by persuasion. But Miss S assures me that 

you gave of your own accord, and this, though very 
unexpected, surprised me less than it would if I had 
not so frequently heard your brother speak of the 
kindness of your disposition. 

We have good encouragement of success in the 
humble and unostentatious undertaking to which you 
have contributed. The zeal of a few seems likely to 
counterbalance the apathy of the many. 

Posterity will marvel at the hardness of our preju- 
dice on this subject, as we marvel at the learned and 
conscientious believers in the Salem witchcraft. So 
easy is it to see the errors of past ages, so difficult to 
acknowledge our own ! 

With the kindest wishes for your happiness and 


Boston, November 22, 1833. 

That most agreeable of all agreeable men, Mr. 
Crawford of London, was here last night. 

He tells harrowing stories of what he has seen at 
the South during his inspection of prisons there. 
Slaves kept in readiness to join their cofne were shut 


up in places too loathsome and horrid for the worst 
of criminals. 

He says had any one told him such things as he 
has seen and heard, he should have considered it ex- 
cessive exaggeration. Yet we talk of mild epithets, 
and tenderness toward our Southern brethren. Curse 
on the " smooth barbarity of courts." Of the various 
cants now in fashion, the cant of charity is to me the 
most disagreeable. Charity, which thinks to make 
wrong right by baptizing it with a sonorous name ; 
that covers selfishness with the decent mantle of pru- 
dence ; that glosses over iniquity with the shining 
varnish of virtuous professions ; that makes a garland 
bridge over the bottomless pit, and calls the devil an 
" Archangel ruined." 

If evil would manifest itself as it really is, how 
easy it would be to overcome it ; but this it cannot 
do, simply because it is evil. 


Boston, July 27, 1834. 

I have at last obtained the " Christian Examiner," 
and read your article. As the old Quaker wrote me 
about the " Mother's Book," " I am free to say to thee, 
it is a most excellent thing." I think I never read 
a better article in my life ; not even excepting the 
" Edinburgh." I was delighted with it. 

You bow most reverently to Wordsworth, " that 
great poet," that confidant of angels," as Lavater says 
of Klopstock. Did not your conscience twinge you 
for throwing Peter Bell and the Idiot Boy in my 
teeth so often, and for laughing me to scorn when I 
said Milton's fame was the sure inheritance of Words- 
worth ? 


I was glad for what you said concerning the state 
of the affections with regard to the perception of 
elevated truths. 

I believe the more you look inward the more you 
will be convinced of the truth of what you advanced 
on that point, and that, too, not merely in a general 
point of view, but as applied to your own mind, and 
the different states of your own mind. When wish- 
ing to defend a truth merely from the love of intel- 
lectual power, or for the sake of appearing superior 
to some other person, I have felt my mind darkened, 
a thick fog arose, and scarcely one fine edge of light 
gave token of the glories I had hidden from myself : 
but while sitting in my own apartment, looking out 
upon the water or the heavens, or, in childish mood, 
watching the perpetual motion of the doves opposite 
my window, unconscious (as the " Edinburgh " says) 
of the existence of any of the little passions and im- 
pure motives which at once blind and harass the in- 
tellect, in such a state of feeling, the same truth, that 
I had before lost in darkness, is written on the mind 
with the power and certainty of a sunbeam ; and to 
doubt it would appear to me as insane as to require 
proof that the moon is not an optical delusion. 

I believe there can be no real religion where reason 
does not perform her high and very important office, 
but here again comes the important point, reason 
cannot do her perfect work unless the affections are 
pure. If we wish a thing to be true, or to make it 
appear true, for the sake of our party or our theory, 
or because it gives us an apparent superiority in 
morals, in intellect, — in a word, if self mingles with 
the motive, " the tree of knowledge is not the tree of 
life-" We may imagine that it makes us as gods, 


knowing good from evil, " but the moment we eat 
thereof, we shall surely die." 

I believe it is more safe and useful to dwell upon 
the necessity of keeping the heart pure, than of en- 
lightening the understanding. An uneducated man 
can more safely trust to his conscience than to his 


New York, August 15, 1835. 
I am at Brooklyn, at the house of a very hospitable 
Englishman, a friend of Mr. Thompson's. I have not 
ventured into the city, nor does one of us dare to go to 
church to-day, so great is the excitement here. You 
can form no conception of it. 'Tis like the times 
of the French Revolution, when no man dared trust 
his neighbors. Private assassins from New Orleans 
are lurking at the corners of the streets, to stab 
Arthur Tappan ; and very large sums are offered for 
any one who will convey Mr. Thompson into the 
Slave States. I tremble for him, and love him in pro- 
portion to my fears. He is almost a close prisoner 
in his chamber, his friends deeming him in imminent 
peril the moment it is ascertained where he is. We 
have managed with some adroitness to get along in 
safety so far ; but I have faith that God will pro- 
tect him, even to the end. Yet why do I make this 
boast ? My faith has at times been so weak that I 
have started and trembled and wept, like a very 
child ; and personal respect and affection for him 
have so far gained the mastery over my trust in 
Providence, that I have exclaimed in anguish of 
heart, " Would to God, I could die for thee ! " Your 
husband could hardly be made to realize the terrible 


state of fermentation now existing here. There are 
7,000 Southerners now in the city ; and I am afraid 
there are not 700 among them who have the slightest 
fear of God before their eyes. Mr. Wright was yes- 
terday barricading his doors and windows with strong 
bars and planks an inch thick. Violence, in some 
form, seems to be generally expected. Alas poor 
fools ! They are building up the very cause they 
seek to destroy. 


New Kochelle [N. Y.], September 25, 1835. 

We are boarding in the family of an honest Hick- 
site Quaker, in this quiet secluded village, which we 
chose both for economy and safe distance from cities. 
There is nothing in the neighborhood worthy of a 
traveller's attention except the grave of Tom Paine, 
in the corner of a field, near the road-side. It is sur- 
rounded by a rough stone wall, two or three feet high. 
In one place the stones are broken down and lying 
loose, where Cobbett entered to carry off his bones. 
He was buried in this lonely manner, because all 
the churches, and even the Quakers, refused him ad- 
mittance into their burying-grounds. And we who 
boast of living in a more liberal age, are carrying on 
the same petty persecution under different forms ! 

I agree with you most cordially that man, without 
a " principle of reverence for something higher than 
his own will, is a poor and wretched being ; " but I 
would have that reverence placed on principles, not 
on persons ; and this in a true republic would, I be- 
lieve, be the case. I believe our difficulties grow out 
of the fact that we have in reality very little repub- 
licanism. A principle of despotism was admitted in 


the very formation of our government, to sanction 
which our consciences have been continually silenced 
and seared. In our social institutions, aristocracy has 
largely mingled. The opinion of a great man stands 
in the place of truth; and thus the power of per- 
ceiving truth is lost. We should be little troubled 
with mobs if people called respectable did not give 
them their sanction. But you will say a true repub- 
lic never can exist. In this, I have more faith than 
you. I believe the world will be brought into a state 
of order through manifold revolutions. Sometimes 
we may be tempted to think it would have been 
better for us not to have been cast on these evil 
times ; but this is a selfish consideration ; we ought 
rather to rejoice that we have much to do as me- 
diums in the regeneration of the world. . . . 

You ask me to be prudent, and I will be so, as far 
as is consistent with a sense of duty ; but this will 
not be what the world calls prudent. Firmness is the 
virtue most needed in times of excitement. What 
consequence is it if a few individuals do sink to un- 
timely and dishonored graves, if the progress of great 
principles is still onward? Perchance for this cause 
came we into the world. 

I have examined the history of the slave too 
thoroughly, and felt his wrongs too deeply, to be 
prudent in the worldly sense of the term. I know 
too well the cruel and wicked mockery contained in 
all the excuses and palliations of the system. 


New Rochelle, December 19, 1835. 
In your last letter you charge democracy with be- 
ing the mother of evil. I do not wonder at it ; for 


these are times when its best friends have need of 
faith. But I believe the difficulty ever is in a lack 
of republicanism. The aristocratic principle, unable 
to act openly, disguises itself, and sends its poison 
from under a mask. What is the root of the diffi- 
culty on this great question of abolition ? It is not 
with the farmers, it is not with the mechanics. The 
majority of their voices would be on the right side if 
the question were fairly brought before them ; and 
the consciousness that such would be the result 
creates the earnest desire to stop discussion. No, 
no ! It is not these who are to blame for the perse- 
cution suffered by abolitionists. Manufacturers who 
supply the South, merchants who trade with the 
South, politicians who trade with the South, minis- 
ters settled at the South, and editors patronized by 
the South, are the ones who really promote mobs. 
Withdraw the aristocratic influence, and I should be 
perfectly easy to trust the cause to the good feeling 
of the people. But, you will say, democracies must 
always be thus acted upon ; and here, I grant, is the 
great stumbling-block. The impediments continu- 
ally in the way of bringing good principles into their 
appropriate forms are almost disheartening ; and 
would be quite so, were it not for the belief in One 
who is brooding over this moral chaos with vivify- 
ing and regenerating power. What c^n be more 
beautiful than the spirit of love in the Christian re- 
ligion ? Yet where shall we find Moslem or pagan 
more fierce and unrelenting than Christians toward 
each other. 



West Boylston [Mass.], May 9, 1836. 

Abolitionism is rapidly growing respectable here, 
because the abolitionists are becoming more and more 
numerous. Since trutlr-is thus made to depend on the 
voice of the majority, what a comfort it is to reflect 
that all majorities were minorities in the beginning. 

I cannot forbear to repeat to you an interview be- 
tween Miss Martin eau and Mrs. , formerly a 

fashionable friend of mine, deeply skilled in the small 

diplomacy of worldly wisdom. Mrs. said some 

things in disparagement of Maria Chapman, accom- 
panied with the wise remark that women were not 
capable of understanding political questions. My 

friend Mrs. , wishing Miss M. to take tip the 

cudgel in defence of the rights of women, put her 

mouth to her ear-trumpet, and said, " Ask Mrs. 

to repeat her remark to you ! " The lady somewhat 
reluctantly observed, " I was saying, Miss M., that 
women ought to attend to their little duties, and let 
public affairs alone." " Believe me, Madam," re- 
plied Miss M., " that those who perform their great 
duties best are most likely to perform their little 
duties best." " Oh, certainly, of course, " said Mrs. 

, " but Mrs. C. is so enthusiastic. She told me 

she felt she had a mission to perform on earth. Now, 
if I felt so, I should think I ought to be sent to 
Bedlam." " Madam," replied Miss M., " it appears 
to me that those of us who think we have no mis- 
sion to perform on earth ought to be sent to Bed- 



South Natick, September 4, 1836. 
I have lately had a most interesting case brought 
under my observation. When in Boston I was en- 
treated to exert myself concerning a little child, sup- 
posed to be a slave, brought from New Orleans, and 
kept shut up at No. 21 Pinckney Street. The object 
was to persuade the child's mistress to leave her at 
the colored asylum, and failing to effect this object, 
to ascertain beyond doubt whether the child was a 
slave, whether there was intention to carry her back 
to New Orleans, and to obtain sight of her in order 

to be able to prove her identity I will not 

fill this sheet with particulars. Suffice it to say, the 
way was opened for us. We obtained all the evi- 
dence we wanted, carried it to a lawyer, who peti- 
tioned for a writ of habeas corpus ; the judge granted 
the petition ; and the man who held little Med in 
custody was brought up for trial. In consequence of 
the amount of evidence ready to be proved by three 
witnesses, the pro-slavery lawyers did not pretend to 
deny that the intent was to carry the child back into 
slavery ; but they took the new and extraordinary 
ground that Southern masters had a legal right to 
hold human beings as slaves while they were visiting 
here in New England. Judge Wild expressed a wish 
to consult with the other judges ; and our abolition 
friends, finding the case turn on such a very impor- 
tant point, resolved to retain the services of Webster, 
for want of a better man. He was willing to serve, 
provided they would wait a few days. Rufus Choate, 
a man only second to him in abilities, and whose 
heart is strongly favorable to anti-slavery, was em- 


ployed. 1 The opposite counsel were full of sophistry 
and eloquence. One of them really wiped his own 
eyes at the thought that the poor little slave might 
be separated from its slave mother by mistaken benev- 
olence. His pathos was a little marred by my friend 
E. G. Loring, who arose and stated that it was dis- 
tinctly understood that little Med was to be sold on 
her way back to New Orleans, to pay the expenses of 
her mistress's journey to the North. The judges de- 
cided unanimously in favor of Med and liberty ! 

The " Commercial Gazette " of the next day says : 
44 This decision, though unquestionably according to 
law, is much to be regretted ; for such cases cannot 
but injure the custom of our hotels, now so liberally 
patronized by gentlemen from the South." Verily, 
Sir Editor, thou art an honest devil ; and I thank 
thee for not being at the pains to conceal thy cloven 


Boston, October 25, 1836. 
I am very glad that you liked " Philothea," and 
that the dedication pleased you. Among my personal 
friends the book has proved far more of a favorite 
than I had supposed it would. I have heard the echo 
of newspaper praise, but have not in fact seen a single 
notice of " Philothea." For my own sake, I care far 
less about literary success than I could easily make 
people believe ; but I am glad if this work adds to 
my reputation, because it will help to increase my 
influence in the anti-slavery cause. It will be an- 
other mite added to the widow's fund for the treasury 

1 The expectations thus excited that Mr. Choate would become an 
opponent of slavery were doomed to disappointment ; during- the latter 
years of his life he was utterly hostile to the anti-slavery movement. 


of the Lord. Every day that I live, I feel more and 
more thankful for my deep interest in a cause which 
carries me out of myself. 


Northampton [Mass.], September 6, 1838. 

When I remember what a remarkable testimony 
the early Friends bore (a testimony which seems to 
me more and more miraculous, the more I compare it 
with the spirit of the age in which they lived), I could 
almost find it in my heart to weep at the too palpable 
proofs that little now remains of that which was full 
of life. 1 I was saying this, last winter, to George Rip- 
ley, a Unitarian minister of Boston. He replied beau- 
tifully, " Mourn not over their lifelessness. Truly the 
dead form alone remains ; but the spirit that em- 
anated from it is not dead, the word which they spake 
has gone out silently into everlasting time. What 
are these Temperance, and Peace, and Anti-Slavery 
Conventions, but a resuscitation of their principles ? 
To me it is a beautiful illustration of the doctrine of 
the resurrection, when I thus see the spirit leaving 
the dead form and embodying itself anew." 

I feel for your trials, for I know by similar ex- 
perience that at times they will press heavily on the 
overtaxed and discouraged soul. But we know what 
awaits those " who endure unto the end." I cannot 
say I pity you ; for is it not a glorious privilege thus 
to struggle with the errors and sins of the time ? Be 
not discouraged because the sphere of action seems 

1 This letter refers to the opposition to active anti-slavery effort 
manifested by the New York yearly meeting of Friends of what is 
called the Hicksite division. On the Orthodox side there was the 
same disposition to discountenance decided abolition labors, although 
both societies professed to maintain a testimony against slavery. 


narrow, and the influence limited ; for every word 
and act that a human being sends forth lives forever. 
It is a spiritual seed cast into the wide field of opinion. 
Its results are too infinite for human calculation. It 
will appear and reappear through all time, always in- 
fluencing the destiny of the human race for good or 
for evil. Has not the one idea that rose silently in 
Elizabeth Heyrick's l mind spread, until it has al- 
most become a World's idea ? Have not the " stern 
old Calvinists of Charles's time," despised as they 
were, given their character to nations? Who can 
predict the whole effect on habit and opinion in New 
Rochelle, fifty years hence, of the spiritual warfare 
now going on in half of a small meeting-house, in that 
secluded village ? To a philosophical mind, nothing 
that concerns the soul of man can be small or limited. 
However humble its form, it is linked with infinity. 
Tell your good father my "prayers" he shall have; 
but not my " tears." Could he have wept for Lu- 
ther when he stood before principalities and powers, 
at the Diet of Worms, and calmly declared, " It is 
neither safe nor prudent to do aught against con- 
science. Here stand I. I cannot otherwise, God 
assist me. Amen." It is odd enough that while the 
plain Quakers of New Rochelle are making such a 
fuss about colored people sitting on the same floor 
with them, the King of France makes no objection to 
having sons in the same school with black boys. 

1 To Elizabeth Hcyrick, of England, a member of the Society of 
Friends, belongs the honor of having been the first to promulgate, in 
a pamphlet published by her in 1825, the doctrine of "Immediate, 
not Gradual Emancipation." The abolitionists of Great Britain, then 
struggling for the overthrow of slavery in the West Indies, speedily 
adopted it as their key-note and cry, and Mr. Garrison, in establishing 
the Liberator, declared it to be the only impregnable position to as- 
sume in agitating for the abolition of slavery everywhere. 



South Natick, November 13, 1836. 

I suppose you heard of me on my way to Doctor 
Channing's ? 

I found the reverend Doctor walking down Mount 
Vernon Street, but he insisted so strongly upon going 
back, that I at last consented. He was very kind 
and complimentary, in manners and conversation. 
He soon began to talk of anti-slavery. I could see 
that he had progressed (as we Yankees say) con- 
siderably since I last conversed with him ; bat he 
still betrayed his characteristic timidity. Almost 
eveiw sentence began with, "I am doubtful," or "I 
am afraid." He was " doubtful " of the policy of 
sending out seventy agents. He was " afraid " there 
would be among them some indifferent men. I told 
him that they gave pretty good evidence they were 
not indifferent to the cause. He did not mean that, 
he meant there would be some among them of indif- 
ferent intellectual and moral gifts. I urged that 
their willingness to go was strong presumptive evi- 
dence in favor of their moral character ; and ex- 
pressed a reasonable doubt whether the seventy sent 
out by the apostles were all equally gifted. He re- 
plied, " But they went out on a very simple errand." 
I rejoined, " And the abolitionists go out on a very 
simple errand. Their principles are a resuscitation 
of doctrines preached by the apostolic seventy." He 
admitted that the foundation principles of Chris- 
tianity and abolition were identical ; but still this 
subject was so intertwisted with politics, prejudice, 
and interest, and the manner of illustrating it might 
be so injudicious, that he thought it every way de- 


sirable to have agents peculiarly qualified. I an- 
swered that we had good reason to suppose the early 
opposition to Christianity was interwoven with the 
prejudices and interests of nations. If it were not 
so, why had the apostles been persecuted even unto 
death ? We, like the apostles, could only choose the 
willing-hearted, and trust that God would bless their 
mission. Even if it were desirable to select the " wise 
and prudent " of this world, there was abundant 
reason to suppose that now, as then, they would not 
be in readiness to perform the Lord's mission. 

I do not know how much longer we might have 
" argufied " about the seventy, if we had not been 
interrupted by Mrs. M., who was soon followed by 
several other ladies. From courtesy I forebore to 
renew a subject which might be embarrassing to 
mine host, in the presence of visitors who doubtless 
would not so much as touch it with a pair of tongs ; 
but I was much pleased to have the Doctor interrupt 
some general remarks which I made on literature, 
with this question : " But, Mrs. Child, I want you 
to tell me something more about the progress of anti- 
slavery." I related several anecdotes illustrative of 
the progressive movement of the public mind, assur- 
ing him that all ranks and classes had been moved, 
in spite of themselves, nay even while many cursed 
the stream which propelled them. I did not forget 
to relate how many Southerners in New York, during 
the past summer, had been into the anti-slavery 
office to inquire for the best book on emancipation. 
He seemed much affected by the story of the anony- 
mous fifty dollars sent to the Society, as " the mas- 
ter's mite toward the relief of those in bondage." 



March 20, 1838. 

I thought of you several times while Angelina 
was addressing the committee of the Legislature. 1 I 
knew you would have enjoyed it so much. I think 
it was a spectacle of the greatest moral sublimity 
I ever witnessed. The house was full to overflow- 
ing. For a moment a sense of the immense respon- 
sibility resting on her seemed almost to overwhelm 
her. She trembled and grew pale. But this passed 
quickly, and she went on to speak gloriously, strong 
in utter forgetfulness of herself, and in her own 
earnest faith in every word she uttered. " What- 
soever comes from the heart goes to the heart." I 
believe she made a very powerful impression on the 
audience. Boston, like other cities, is very far be- 
hind the country towns on this subject ; so much so 
that it is getting to be Boston versus Massachusetts, 
as the lawyers say. The Boston members of the leg- 
islature tried hard to prevent her having a hearing 
on the second day. Among other things, they said 
that such a crowd were attracted by curiosity the 
galleries were in danger of being broken down ; 
though in fact they are constructed with remarkable 
strength. A member from Salem, perceiving their 

1 Angelina Grimke, a native of South Carolina, and a member of 
the Society of Friends, addressed a committee of the Massachusetts 
Legislature on the subject of slavery in the House of Representatives, 
February 21, 1838, and on two subsequent days. She and her sister 
Sarah left their home and came to the North to reside because of 
their abhorrence of slavery, and they were the first women to speak 
in public against the system. Their testimonies, given from personal 
knowledge and experience, produced a profound impression, and large 
audiences gathered to listen to them wherever they went. 


drift, wittily proposed that a " committee be ap- 
pointed to examine the foundations of the State 
House of Massachusetts, to see whether it will bear 
another lecture from Miss Grimke." 

One sign that her influence is felt is that the 
" sound part of the community " (as they consider 
themselves) seek to give vent to their vexation by 
calling her Devil-ina instead of Angel-ina, and Miss 
Grimalkin instead of Miss Grimke. Another sign is 
that we have succeeded in obtaining the Odeon, one 
of the largest and most central halls, for her to speak 
in ; and it is the first time such a place has been ob- 
tained for anti-slavery in this city. 

Angelina and Sarah have been spending the winter 

at the house of Mr. P , about five miles from 

here. The family were formerly of the Society of 
Friends — are now, I believe, a little Swedenborgian, 
but more Quaker, and swinging loose from any reg- 
ular society; just as I and so many hundred others 
are doing at the present day. I should like earnestly 
and truly to believe with some large sect, because re- 
ligious sympathy is so delightful ; but I now think 
that if I were to live my life over again I should 
not outwardly join any society, there is such a ten- 
dency to spiritual domination, such an interfering 
with individual freedom. 

Have you read a little pamphlet called " George 
Fox and his First Disciples " ? I was charmed with 
it. Don't you remember I told you I was sure that 
the thou and thee of Friends originated in a principle 
of Christian uquality? This pamphlet confirms my 
conjecture. In the English language of George Fox's 
time, and in most European languages now, thou 
was used only to familiars and equals. 


Kings say we, and nobles are addressed as you. 
The Germans carry this worshipful plurality to an 
absurd extent. The prince being missed by his com- 
panions on a hunting excursion, one of the noblemen 
asked a peasant, " Hast thou seen the prince pass this 
way?" "No, my lord," replied the peasant, "but 
their dog have passed." It was this distinction of 
language addressed to superiors, and to inferiors or 
equals, that the early Friends resisted. The custom 
had life in it then, for it was merely the outward 
expression or form of a vital principle. What is it 
now ? An inherited formality, of which few stop to 
inquire the meaning. Thus have all human forms 
the seed of death within them ; but luckily when the 
body becomes dead, the inward soul or principle seeks 
a new form and lives again. The Friends as a society 
may become extinct ; but not in vain did they cast 
forth their great principles into everlasting time. No 
truth they uttered shall ever die ; neither shall any 
truth that you or I may speak, or express in our lives. 
Two centuries after William Penn brought indig- 
nation upon himself by saying "thou" to the Duke 
of York, the French revolutionists, in order to show 
that they were friends of equality, wrote in their 
windows, " In this house we 4 thou ' it." And this 
idea, dug up by the Friends from the ashes of early 
Christianity, has in fact given rise to the doctrine of 
" spiritual brotherhood," echoed and reechoed from 
Priestley to Channing. 


Northampton [Mass.], June 9, 1838. 
A month elapsed after I came here before I stepped 
into the woods which were all around me blooming 


with wild flowers. I did not go to Mr. D wight's or- 
dination, nor have I yet been to meeting. He has 
been to see me, however, and though I left my work 
in the midst, and sat down with a dirty gown and 
hands somewhat grimmed, we were high up in the 
blue in fifteen minutes. I promised to take a flight 
with him from the wash-tub or dish-kettle any time 
when he would come along with his balloon. . . . 

C. is coming down next week, and I think I shall 
send a line to some of you by her. Her religious 
furor is great, just at this time, but of her theological 
knowledge you can judge when I tell you that when 
I spoke of old John Calvin, she asked me if he was 
the same as John the Baptist. . . . 

I don't suppose any present was quite so satisfac- 
tory as the pretty green watering pot. Father said 
I was out with it in the rain as well as the sunshine. 


Northampton, July 12, 1838. 

Your kind letter in reply to mine was most wel- 
come. The humility with which you say that you 
" may have been permitted now and then to sug- 
gest things not useless to my genius," sounds oddly 
enough. Such expressions from a mind so immeasur- 
ably superior to mine, in its attainments, would seem 
to be feigned and excessive, did I not know that you 
speak sincerely. If I possessed your knowledge, it 
seems to me as if I could move the whole world. I 
am often amused and surprised to think how many 
things I have attempted to do with my scanty stock 
of learning. I know not how it is, but my natural 
temperament is such that when I wish to do anything 
T seem to have an instinctive faith that I can do it ; 


whether it be cutting and making a garment, or writ- 
ing a Greek novel. The sort of unconsciousness of 
danger arising from this is in itself strength. Whence 
came it? I did not acquire it. But the "whence? 
how ? whither ? " of our inward life must always 
be answered, " From a mystery ; in a mystery ; to 
a mystery." I fully admit your modest suggestion 
that you have " now and then suggested things useful 
to me ;" but I owe more than this occasional assist- 
ance (I am laughing in my sleeve at your humility, 
and therefore emphasize) to " the fortunate circum- 
stance of your having come into the world before 
me." To your early influence, by conversation, let- 
ters, and example, I owe it that my busy energies 
took a literary direction at all. 


Northampton, August 17, 1838. 

With regard to intercourse with slave-holders, far 
from shunning it myself, I seek it diligently. Many 
and many an hour's argument, maintained with can- 
dor and courtesy, have I had with them ; and they 
have generally appeared to like me, though my prin- 
ciples naturally seemed to them stern and uncompro- 
mising. I am not so intolerant as to suppose that 
slave-holders have not many virtues, and many very 
estimable qualities ; but at the same time, let me 
caution you against believing all their fair profes- 
sions on the subject of slavery. Men who are true 
and honorable on all other subjects will twist, and 
turn, and deceive, and say what they must absolutely 
know to be false on this subject. 

I account for the inconsistency and tergiversation 
of such men partly upon the supposition that con- 


science perpetually whispers to them that the system 
is wrong, but is not sufficiently revered to overcome 
the temptation of apparent interest. Still more do I 
attribute it to the fact that, by education and habit, 
they have so long thought and spoken of the colored 
man as a mere article of property, that it is almost 
impossible for them to recognize him as a man, and 
reason concerning him as a brother, on equal terms 
with the rest of the human family. If, by great 
effort, you make them acknowledge the brotherhood 
of the human race, as a sacred and eternal principle, 
in ten minutes their arguments, assertions, and pro- 
posed schemes all show that they have returned to 
the old habit of regarding the slave as a " chattel per- 


Northampton, 1838. 

Why do you not write ? Are you ill ? " Are you 
sorry with me," as the little French girl used to say; 
or what is the matter ? I really hunger and thirst to 
hear from you. . . . 

My husband and I are busy in that most odious of 
all tasks, that of getting signatures to petitions. We 
are resolved that the business shall be done in this 
town more thoroughly than it has been heretofore. 
But, " Oh Lord, sir ! " 

I have never been so discouraged about abolition 
as since we came into this iron-bound Valley of the 
Connecticut. I have ceased to believe that public 
opinion will ever be sincerely reformed on the ques- 
tion till long after emancipation has taken place. I 
mean that for generations to come there will be a 
very large minority hostile to the claims of colored 
people ; and the majority will be largely composed of 


individuals who are found on that side from anj and 
every motive rather than hearty sympathy with the 
down-trodden race. Public events, probably of the 
most unexpected character, will help along the de- 
sired result. The injudicious course of the South has 
identified the claims of emancipation and free discus- 
sion, and thus thousands have already been roused 
who care little or nothing for the poor slave. The 
stupidity and recklessness of Stevenson, in his mad 
encounter with O'Connell, have fairly laid before the 
gaze of Europe that most disgusting feature of slav- 
ery which abolitionists have been obliged to leave 
partially veiled, for decency's sake. What God is 
preparing for us along the Indian frontier, in Mexico, 
Cuba, and Hayti, I know not ; but I think I see 
"coming events cast their shadows before." We cer- 
tainly have done all we could to secure the deadly 
hostility of the red man and the black man every- 
where. I think God will overrule events to bring 
about a change, long before the moral sense of this 
nation demands it as a matter of justice and human- 
ity. What would have become of the Protestant 
reformation in England (at least for several gener- 
ations) if the Pope had acknowledged the legitimacy 
of Queen Elizabeth. She was as ready to be a Cath- 
olic as a Protestant, and a very large proportion of 
the people were favorable to their ancient form of 
worship, though they did not care enough about it to 
sacrifice important interests. God so ordered it that 
the Pope, desirous of supporting Mary Stuart's claim, 
and little foreseeing the result of his proceedings, 
denied the legitimacy of Elizabeth. She was obliged 
to throw herself on the Protestants, and, of course, 
carried with her the ambitious, the timid, and the 



Northampton, December 22, 1838. 
If I were to choose my home, I certainly would not 
place it in the Valley of the Connecticut. It is true, 
the river is broad and clear, the hills majestic, and 
the whole aspect of outward nature most lovely. 
But oh ! the narrowness, the bigotry of man ! To 
think of hearing a whole family vie with each other, 
in telling of vessels that were wrecked, or shattered, 
or delayed on their passage, because they sailed on 
Sunday ! To think of people's troubling their heads 
with the question whether the thief could have been 
instantaneously converted on the cross, so that the 
Saviour could promise him an entrance to Paradise ! 
In an age of such stirring inquiry, and of such ex- 
tended benevolence — in a world which requires all 
the efforts of the good and wise merely to make it 
receptive of holy influences, what a pity it is that so 
much intellect should be wasted upon such theologi- 
cal jargon ! No wonder that the intelligent infidel, 
looking at mere doctrines and forms, should be led 
to conclude that religion had done more harm in the 
world than good. The really inward-looking find in 
these no language by which they can give even a 
stammering utterance to their thoughts and feelings ; 
yet the incubus of forms, from which the life has de- 
parted, oppresses them, though they dare not throw 
them off. Something is coming toward us (I know 
not what), with a glory round its head, and its long, 
luminous rays are even now glancing on the desert 
and the rock. The Unitarian, busily at work pulling 
down old structures, suddenly sees it gild some an- 
cient pillar, or shed its soft light on some moss-grown 



altar ; and he stops with a troubled doubt whether 
all is to be destroyed ; and if destroyed, wherewith 
shall he build anew ? He looks upward for the com- 
ing dawn, and calls it transcendentalism. The Cal- 
vinist at work with strong arm and sincere heart at 
his fiery forge, fashioning the melted metal in time- 
honored moulds, sees a light, before which his fires 
grow dim, and the moulded forms seem rigid and un- 
couth. Perplexed, he asks if the martyred fathers 
did die for a faith that must be thrown aside like a 
useless stove of last year's patent. His grim iron 
forms return no answer, for there is not in them that 
which can answer the earnest questionings of the hu- 
man soul. He too looks upward, sees the light, and 
calls it Perfectionism. 

Having accidentally fallen into this vein of thought 
brings Emerson to my remembrance. How absurdly 
the Unitarians are behaving, after all their talk about 
liberality, the sacredness of individual freedom, free 
utterance of thought, etc. If Emerson's thoughts 
are not their thoughts, can they not reverence them, 
inasmuch as they are formed and spoken in freedom ? 
I believe the whole difficulty is, they are looking out- 
wardly to what the logical opponents will say, not 
inwardly with calm investigation. I am not at all 
disturbed by what any man believes, .or what he dis- 
believes ; and as for the Unitarian views, they arise 
from doubts too familiar to my own mind to be in- 
tolerant at this period of my life. But I do like to 
have men utter their thoughts honestly, and not be 
afraid that it will not do to break down old forms. 
Of the many who make an outcry about Emerson's 
scruples concerning the sacrament, what proportion 
do you suppose really regard that institution as sa- 


cred ? " What can be more unprofitable than to see 
men struggling with their whole force and industry to 
stretch out the old formula and phraseology, so that 
it may cover the new, contradictory, entirely uncover- 
able thing ? Whereby the poor formula does but crack, 
and one's honesty along with it. This stretching out 
of formulas till they crack is, especially in time of swift 
changes, one of the sorrowfullest tasks poor human- 
ity has." 

I by no means charge the Unitarians with being 
the only ones that strive to stretch out old formulas ; 
but it is more observable in them, because so incon- 
sistent with their own free theories. 


Northampton, 1840. 
I too should like to see " the poetry of motion " 
in Fanny Elssler. But the only thing (except seeing 
dear friends) that has attracted me to Boston, was the 
exhibition of statuary. In particular I have an earn- 
est desire to see the " Infant guided to Heaven by 
Angels." I am ashamed to say how deeply I am 
charmed with sculpture; ashamed, because it seems 
like affectation in one who has had such very limited 
opportunity to become acquainted with the arts. I 
have a little plaster figure of a caryatid, which acts 
upon my spirit like a magician's spell. Sarah (she 
reproves me when I call her Mrs. S.) did not seem to 
think much of it ; but to me it has an expression of 
the highest kind. Repose after conflict — not the re- 
pose of innocence, but the repose of wisdom. Many 
a time this hard summer I have laid down dish-cloth 
or broom and gone to refresh my spirit by gazing on 
it a few minutes. It speaks to me. It says glorious 


things. In summer I place flowers before it ; and 
now I have laid a garland of acorns and amaranths 
at its feet. I do dearly love every little bit of real 


Northampton, August 16, 1840. 

Deaeest Nony, — Now I will write to you. I 
have no kitten to purr aloud ; and my great black 
cat is not sufficiently well-behaved to deserve a writ- 
ten description. But my swallows still keep about 
the house. Almost every evening one or two of 
them come in at dark in search of flies ; and they go 
circling round my head, so that I sometimes feel 
their wings fan my face. Once in a great while 
they come in now to look at the old nest, and squat 
down in it for a minute or two ; just as children love 
to go back to the old homestead, to see the place 
where they were born. But the pleasantest sight 
of all was when the little ones were learning to fly. 
Such a twittering and bustling ! And when the 
baby birds, in spite of the mother's unwearied ef- 
forts, still continued too timid to drop down from 
the edge of the nest, she brought in eight or ten of 
her neighbor swallows to instruct and encourage 
them. She did this three times in succession. The 
wood-shed seemed full of birds, for a few minutes at 
a time, flying and perching, and clinging to the 
beams, in all manner of pretty attitudes. I don't 
know but you grow tired hearing about my birds ; 
but it seems as if I could watch them forever. Every 
day I fear it is the last time I shall see them ; for 
they will soon go away to the South, to find a warmer 
home for winter. 



Northampton, 1840. 
I did hope mightily to see you, and I wanted to 
have you hear John Dwight preach. John's is a 
mild, transparent, amber light, found 

" In einem andern Sonnen lichte, 
In einer glucklichen Natur." 

Shame on me for quoting German so pompously, 
when these are almost the only lines I know. 

You have seen the illustrations of John Bunyan, 
the literary part prepared by Bernard Barton ? Oh, 
it is a lovely book ! The memory of it haunts me 
like a sweet dreztm. You looked at it in church one 
day ; and I pointed to you the picture of the river 
of life, where the light was so supernaturally trans- 
parent, and soft, and warm ; like the sun shining 
through crystal walls upon golden floors. Well, 
that picture is like some of John D wight's sermons. 
Blessings on him ! He has ministered to my soul in 
seasons of great need. I think that was all he was 
sent here for, and that the parish are paying for a 
missionary to me. Who are the rest of the world, 
that God should send missionaries to them ? 


Nortpiampton, October 21, 1840. 
My heart has written you several epistles in reply, 
but the hand could not be spared. Oh for some 
spiritual daguerreotype, by which thoughts might 
spontaneously write themselves ! How should you 
like that? Would you dare venture upon it for the 
sake of the convenience ? 

Oh, but you should have seen Lonetown woods in 


the rich beauty of autumnal foliage ! Color taking 
its fond and bright farewell of form, — Like the im- 
agination giving a deeper, richer, warmer glow to 
old familiar truths, before the winter of rationalism 
comes, and places trunk and branches in naked out- 
line against the clear cold sky. 

I have had a charming letter from Mr. W., a 
real German effusion, filling matter brimful of life; 
so that statues beseech, and are sad that we do not 
understand their language ; and flowers dance in 
troops to wind-music ; and the brook goes tumb- 
ling to the river, roaring as he falls, and the river 
smiles that he comes to her unharmed. It is the 
old instinct that peopled nature with the graceful 
forms of naiad, dryad, and oread. Thus imperfectly, 
with all our strivings, do we spell out the " litera- 
ture of God," as Margaret Fuller eloquently calls 
creation. . . . 

A truce with my " Orphic sayings ! " Here am I 
well nigh thirty-nine years old, and cannot for the 
life of me talk common sense. What shall I do to 
place myself in accordance with the received opin- 
ions of mankind ? if I had been a flower or a bird, 
Linnaeus or Audubon might have put me into some 
order ; if I had been a beaver or an antelope, Buffo n 
might have arranged me. One would think that be- 
ing a woman were more to the purpose than either ; 
for if to stand between " two infinities and three im- 
mensities," as Carlyle says (the two infinities being 
cooking done and to be done, and the three immen- 
sities being making, mending, and washing), if this 
won't drive poetry out of a mortal, I know not what 



Northampton, October 30, 1840. 

Is not the idea of this present age written in the 
fact that any man can have his likeness taken in 
a minute by machinery ? In " the philosophy of 
clothes " has it ever occurred to you, that in those 
Eastern countries, where a belief in fatalism stops the 
activity of human thought, the fashion of the garments 
changes not ; while in France, where churches and 
governments are demolished in three days, the fash- 
ion of the garments is forever changing ? I appre- 
hend the clothing of a nation reveals much to the 
inhabitants of the aforesaid spiritual daguerreotype 
region. We borrow our fashions. How is it with 
our thoughts ? By the way, did you hear that ex- 
cellent joke, that Louis Phillippe had written to Dr. 
Channing to manufacture a religion for the French 
people ? 

My thoughts run on in the wildest way to-day. 
For the first time these six weeks, I have somebody 
in the kitchen to do my work ; and there is a whole 
boys' school set loose in my brain, kicking up heels, 
throwing up caps, hurrahing, chasing butterflies, — 
everything in short, except drowning kittens. So 
you must not look for anything like coherence. 

To go back to my hobby of twenty years, i. e. the 
forms of ideas. See you not how that old jangling 
pair, necessity and free-will, are shown in the ten- 
dency of all things to decay and reproduction? in 
mysticism and rationalism ? in conservatism and re- 
form ? Forever in the universe, and the universe 
containing man, there is one hand winged, and the 
other chained. Because of necessity and free-will, 


the revolving worlds keep their places. The sun is 
their necessity, centrifugal force their strong free- 
will. And those two opposing ideas, which regulate 
the motion of the stars, are constantly taking form in 
the most trivial actions of my daily life. By my 
soul, though free-will has a hard battle in these latter 
times, necessity presses like a patent screw. 


Northampton, January, 1841. 
I marvel that you, who are no stranger to phil- 
osophy in its best sense, and who have the highest 
peaks of your mind at least a little gilded with trans- 
cendentalism, suppose that the " deadening drudgery 
of the world" can "imprison the soul in caverns." 
It is not merely an eloquent phrase, but a distinct 
truth, that the outward has no power over us but 
that which we voluntarily give it. It is not I who 
drudge, it is merely the case containing me. I defy 
all the powers of earth and hell to make me scour 
floors and feed pigs, if I choose meanwhile to be off 
conversing with the angels. . . . You are right, my 
dear brother, to attribute such freshness as I have to 
a vivid religious sentiment, not a theological tenet. 
If I can in quietude and cheerfulness forego my own 
pleasure, and relinquish my own tastes, to administer 
to my father's daily comfort, I seem to those who 
live in shadows to be cooking food or mixing medi- 
cines ; but I am in fact making divine works of art, 
which will reveal to me their fair proportions in the 
far eternity. If I can smother the rising anger, and 
melt wrath with love, I have written a glorious piece 
of music, to be sung in my " Father's house of many 
mansions." Nay, more, perhaps I am doing somewhat 


to make a holier music descend to this world, first in 
purified affections, and ultimately in written notes. 
In this view of the ever-active agency of spirit, how 
appalling is the responsibility of a human soul ; how 
glorious its capabilities. Another means of keeping 
my soul fresh is my intense love of Nature. Another 
help, perhaps stronger than than either of the two, is 
domestic love. . . . 

A Southern gentleman, some time since, wrote to 
me from New Orleans, postage double and unpaid, 
inviting me to that city, promising me a " warm 
reception, and lodgings in the calaboose, with as 
much nigger company as you desire." 1 He wrote ac- 
cording to the light that was in' him. He did not 
know that the combined police of the world could 
not imprison me. In spite of bolts and bars, I should 
have been off, like a witch at midnight holding fair 
discourse with Orion, and listening to the plaintive 
song of Pleiades mourning for the earth-dimmed glory 
of their fallen sister. How did he know, in his moral 
midnight, that choosing to cast our lot with the low- 
liest of earth was the very way to enter into com- 
panionship with the highest in heaven ? 


Northampton, February 8, 1841. 

The only house on our farm is a sort of shanty 
with two rooms and a garret, where a smart colored 
man and his wife (fugitives from injustice) now re- 
side. We expect to whitewash it, build a new wood- 
shed, and live there the next year. I shall keep no 
help, and there will be room enough for David and 

1 The above extract from the letter written by the Southerner was 
one of many of the same kind she received, because of her devotion to 
the cause of abolition. 


me. I intend to half bury it in flowers. As for the 
hyacinth bean, what else could I expect when I 
trusted a Quaker with anything purely ornamental ! 
I have since obtained some seed ; and I valued them 
only because they grew around my door in Cottage 
Place, where I spent the happiest years of my life. 


New Yoek, May 27, 1841. 

Your last letter was all filled with accounts of your 
outward life. What do I care whether you have one 
room or six, provided you are happy ? I want to 
know what your spirit is doing? What are you 
thinking, feeling, and reading? As for feeling, you 
cannot, I know, reveal to me or any one the world of 
sweet emotions that are now opening in your heart ; 
but you can give me a glimpse. And see that you do 
it, instead of telling me how many gowns the baby 
has, and whether he sleeps in a swing cradle. You 
need not tell me about working all the time. You 
shall not do it. There is no sense in burying your 
soul under butter and cheese, any more than under 
laces and ruffles. Your husband, be he ever so plain 
a Friend, must mind me, and observe stated seasons. 
On every anniversary of your wedding day, he must 
give you a book. . . . 

My task here is irksome to me. Your father will 
tell you that it was not zeal for the cause, but love 
for my husband, which brought me hither. But 
since it was necessary for me to leave home to be 
earning somewhat, I am thankful that my work is 
for the anti-slavery cause. I have agreed to stay one 
year. I hope I shall then be able to return to my 
husband and rural home, which is humble enough, 


yet very satisfactory to me. Should the " Standard " 
be continued, and my editing generally desired, per- 
haps I could make an arrangement to send articles 
from Northampton. At all events, I trust this weary 
separation from my husband is not to last more than 
a year. If I must be away from him, I could not be 
more happily situated than in Friend Hopper's family. 
They treat me the same as a daughter and a sister. 

P. S. Only think of it ! New York has repealed 
her nine months' law, and every slave brought here 
is now immediately free. 


New York, May 27, 1841. 

Dearest Friend, — Blessings on you for your 
cheering letter. I trust it expresses the general anti- 
slavery sentiment. I am afraid many will think me 
not gritty enough. The editing is much more irk- 
some than I supposed. The type is fine, and that 
large sheet swallows an incredible amount of matter. 
The cry still is, as C. says, " More ! more ! " An 
anti-slavery editor is a sort of black sheep among the 
fraternity, and I have no courtesies from booksellers. 

assists me by getting books out of club libraries, 

etc. ; but still my range for extracts is very limited. 

The first familiar face I met here was Mr. B . He 

is preaching New Church doctrines with great effect. 
Is it not strange that I can neither get in nor out of 
the New Church? Let me go where I will, it keeps 
an outward hold upon me, more or less weak on one 
side, while reforms grapple me closely on the other. 
I feel that they are opposite, nay, discordant. My af- 
fections and imagination cling to one with a love that 
will not be divorced ; my reason and conscience keep 


fast hold of the other, and will not be loosened. 
Here is the battle of free-will and necessity with a 
vengeance ! What shall I do ? The temptation is to 
quit reforms, but that is of the devil ; for there is 
clearly more work for me to do in that field. I 
suppose I must go on casting a loving, longing look 
toward the star-keeping clouds of mysticism, which 
look down so mysterious and still into my heart, 
" and make it also great," while with busy hands I 
row the boat of practical endeavor. I would I were 
at one with myself. A Quaker, whose brother has 
joined the New Church, brings a message to me. 
That very brother is an admonition ; for-he used to 
be a warm anti-slavery and peace man, and the 
church influence has made him abjure both. . . . 

You are right in supposing that abolition princi- 
ples and non-resistance seem to me identical ; rather 
that the former is a mere unit of the latter. I never 
saw any truth more clearly ; insomuch that it seems 
strange to me that any comprehensive mind can em- 
brace one and not the other. 


December 21, 1841. 

Allow me to express the strong interest I take in 
you and your labors. You have suffered much for a 
great cause, but you have not suffered without the 
sympathy and affection of some, I hope not a few, 
whose feelings have not been expressed. Among 
those I may number myself. I now regret that when 
you were so near to me I saw so little of you. I 
know that you have higher supports and consolations 
than the sympathy of your fellow creatures, nor do 


I offer mine because I attach any great value to it, 
but it is a relief to my own mind to thank you for 
what you have done for the oppressed, and to express 
the pleasure, I hope profit, which I have received 
from the various efforts of your mind. 

I have been delighted to see in your " Letters from 
"New York " such sure marks of a fresh, living, hopeful 
spirit ; to see that the flow of genial noble feeling has 
been in no degree checked by the outward discour- 
agements of life. The world's frowns can do us little 
harm if they do not blight our spirits, and we are 
under obligations to all who teach us, not in words, 
but in life, that there is an inward power which can 
withstand all the adverse forces of the world." 

March 12, 1842. 

My dear Friend, — You see I reciprocate your 
familiar and affectionate phrase, and I do it heartily. 
There are, indeed, few people whom I address in this 
way, for I fear to use language stronger than my 
feelings, and I shrink so much from the appearance 
of flattering words, that I not seldom smother affec- 
tions that struggle for utterance. But I grow free as 
I grow older. Age has no freezing influence, and the 
inward fountain gushes out more naturally. To you 
I ought to open my heart after what you have told 
me of the good a loving, cheering word does you. I 
confess I had thought of you as raised more than the 
most of us above the need of sympathy. I had heard 
so often of your brave endurance of adversity, and 
was conscious of having suffered so little myself for 
truth and humanity, that I almost questioned my 
right to send you encouraging words, and certainly 
did not expect so affectionate a response. It shows 


me I can do more than I believed by expressions of es- 
teem and admiration. If I can lift up and strengthen 
such a spirit, how can I keep silence ? . . . 

I understand fully your language when you speak 
of reform as your work-shop. I fear I understand it 
too well ; that is, I am too prone to shrink from the 
work. Reform is the resistance of rooted corruptions 
and evils, and my tendency is to turn away from the 
contemplation of evils. My mind seeks the good, the 
perfect, the beautiful. It is a degree of torture to 
bring vividly to my apprehension what man is suffer- 
ing from his own crimes, and from the wrongs and 
cruelty of his brother. No perfection of art expended 
on purely tragic and horrible subjects can reconcile 
me to them. It is only from a sense of duty that I 
read a narrative of guilt or woe in the papers. 
When the darkness is lighted up by moral greatness 
or beauty, I can endure and even enjoy it. You see 
I am made of but poor material for a reformer. But 
on this very account the work is good for me. I 
need it not, as many do, to give me excitement, for I 
find enough, perhaps too much, to excite me in the 
common experience of life, in meditation, in abstract 
truth ; but to save me from a refined selfishness, to 
give me force, disinterestedness, true dignity and ele- 
vation, to link me by a new faith to God, by a deeper 
love to my race, and to make me a blessing to the 

I know not how far I have explained my shrinking 
from the work of reform, but, be the cause what it 
may, let us not turn away from us the cross, but will- 
ingly, gratefully accept it when God lays it on us ; 
and he does lay it on us whenever he penetrates our 
hearts with a deep feeling of the degradation, mis- 


eries, oppressions, crimes, of our human brethren, 
and awakens longings for their redemption. In thus 
calling us, he imposes on us a burden such as the an- 
cient prophets groaned under. We must drink of 
the cup and be baptized into the baptism of our Mas- 
ter. We must expect persecution in some form or 
other : but this is a light matter compared with the 
painful necessity of fixing our eyes and souls on evil, 
and with the frequent apparent failure of our labor. 
Here, here is the trial. Could we lift up our fellow- 
creatures at once to the happiness and excellence 
which we aspire after, what a joy would reform be ! 
But, alas, if we do remove a few pressing evils, how 
many remain ! What a cloud still hangs over the 
earth ! Sometimes evil seems to grow up under the 
efforts to repress it. Were it not for our faith, who 
could persevere? But with this faith what a secret 
sustaining joy flows into and mingles with sincere 
labors for humanity ! The little we accomplish be- 
comes to us a pledge of something infinitely greater. 
We know that the brighter futurity which our hearts 
yearn for is not a dream, that good is to triumph over 
evil, and to triumph through the sacrifices of the good. 
You see I would wed you and myself to reform, 
and yet we must do something more than reformers. 
We must give our nature a fair chance. We must 
not wither it by too narrow modes of action. Let 
your genius have free play. We are better reform- 
ers, because calmer and wiser, because we have more 
weapons to work with, if we give a wide range to 
thought, imagination, taste, and the affections. We 
must be cheerful, too, in our war with evil ; for 
gloom is apt to become sullenness, ill-humor, and bit- 



I shall always recollect the first time I ever saw 
Dr. Channing in private. It was immediately after 
I published my " Appeal in favor of that class of 
Americans called Africans," in 1833. A publication 
taking broad anti-slavery ground was then a rarity. 
Indeed, that was the first book in the United States of 
that character ; and it naturally produced a sensation 
disproportioned to its merits. I sent a copy to Dr. 
Channing, and a few days after he came to see me at 
Cottage Place, a mile and a half from his residence 
on Mt. Vernon Street. It was a very bright sunny.- \ 
day ; but he carried his cloak on his arm for fear qj, 
changes in temperature, and he seemed fatigued witJ 
the long walk. He stayed nearly three hours, during . 
which time we held a most interesting conversation 
on the general interests of humanity, and on slavery 
in particular. He told me something of his expe- 
rience in the West Indies, and said the painful im- 
pression made by the sight of slavery had never left 
his mind. He expressed great joy at the publication 
of the " Appeal," and added, "The reading of it h:\s 
aroused my conscience to the query whether I ought 
to remain silent on the subject. He urged me nev ;r 
to desert the cause through evil report or good repc ».. 
In some respects he thought I went too far. ^ie 
then entertained the idea, which he afterwards dis- 
carded, that slavery existed in a milder form in the 
United States than elsewhere. I was fresh from the 
bloody records of our own legislation, and was some- 
what vehement in my opposition to this statement, 
and he sought to moderate my zeal with those calm, 
wise words which none spoke so well as he. 


We afterwards had many interviews. He often 
sent for me when I was in Boston, and always urged 
me to come and tell him of every new aspect of the 
anti-slavery cause. At every interview I could see 
that he grew bolder and stronger on the subject, 
while I felt that I grew wiser and more just. At first 
I thought him timid and even slightly time-serving, 
but I soon discovered that I formed this estimate 
merely from ignorance of his character. I learned 
that it was justice to all, not popularity for himself, 
which rendered him so cautious. He constantly 
grew upon my respect, until I came to regard him as 
the wisest as well as the gentlest apostle of humanity. 
l I owe him thanks for helping to preserve me from 
i the one-sidedness into which zealous reformers are apt 
■to run. He never sought to undervalue the im- 
7 portance of anti-slavery, but he said many things to 
\ prevent my looking upon it as the only question in- 
teresting to humanity. My mind needed this check, 
and I never think of his many-sided conversations 
„ : without deep gratitude. His interest in the subject 
Constantly increased, and I never met him without 
.being struck with the progress he had made in over- 
coming some difficulty which for a time troubled his 
sensitive conscience. I can distinctly recollect several 
'Ouch steps. At one time he was doubtful whether it 
Vere right to petition Congress on the subject, be- 
cause such petition exasperated our Southern breth- 
ren, and, as he thought, made them more tenacious of 
their system. He afterward headed a petition him- 
self. In all such cases he was held back by the con- 
scientious fear of violating some other duty, while 
endeavoring to fulfil his duty to the slave. Some 
zealous reformers misunderstood this, and construed 



into a love of popularity what was, in fact, but a fine 
sense of justice, a more universal love of his species. 


New York, February 17, 1842. 
Mv domestic attachments are so strong:, and David 
is always so full of cheerful tenderness, that this 
separation is dreary indeed ; yet I am supplied, and 
that too in the most unexpected manner, with just 
enough of outward aids to keep me strong and hope- 
ful. It has ever been thus, through all the chang- 
ing scenes of my trying pilgrimage. Ever there is 
a harp in the sky, and an echo on earth. One of 
my aids is Friend Hopper's son, who with unwearied 
love brings me flowers and music, and engravings 
and pictures and transparencies, and the ever-ready 
sympathy of a generous heart. Another is a young 
German, full of that deep philosophy that is born of 
poetry. Then, ever and anon, there comes some 
winged word from Maria White, some outpourings 
of love from young spirits in Boston or in Salem. 
Quite unexpectedly there came from Dr. Channing, 
the other day, words of the truest sympathy and the 
kindliest cheer. The world calls me unfortunate, but 
in good truth I often wonder why it is the angels 
take such good care of me. Bettine is a perpetual 
refreshment to my soul. Nothing disturbs me so 
much as to have any Philistine make remarks about 
her. Not that I think her connection with Goethe 
beautiful or altogether natural. (I need not have said 
that ; for if it were truly natural, it would be alto- 
gether beautiful, let conventionalisms try their worst 
upon it.) Did I ever tell you how expressively John 
D wight said all that is to be said on this subject? 


" It is evident that Goethe was to Bettine merely the 
algebraic X that stands for the unknown quantity." 

Mr. Brisbane, the Fourier Association man, told 
me that he was well acquainted with Bettine in Ger- 
many, and that no one who knew her would doubt 
for a moment that she did all the strange things re- 
corded in her letters. He said she would talk with 
him by the two hours together, lying all quirled up 
in a heap on the carpet, and as often as any way with 
her feet bare ; but that this, and other tricks more 
odd still, were played with such innocent and infan- 
tile grace that, withered as she was, he could not help 
regarding her like a child three years old. Yet, in the 
midst of her wildest frolics, she would start off sud- 
denly and wing the highest flights of poetic romance, 
or dive into the deepest vein of spiritual philosophy. 
The artists were plagued to death with her, for she 
would go into all their studios just when she chose, 
seize their clay, tools, or brushes, and model or paint 
to her heart's content ; often leaving her work un- 
finished and seizing upon fresh clay or canvas to em- 
body some new freak of her brain. Some of these 
productions, he said, were of exquisite grace and 
beauty. Altogether, she was the strangest yet, the 
most captivating mortal he ever met. She had a son 
twenty years old, a man observable for practical wis- 
dom and business tact. She was then a little with- 
ered, odd-looking old woman ; but with a fire in her 
dark eye easily kindled into brilliant beauty. 

As for conventional forms, the giant soul should 
indeed rend them like cobwebs when they cross the 
pathway of Truth and Freedom. But there is an 
eternal distinction between right and wrong, Goethe 
and Bettine to the contrary notwithstanding. 



New York, September 19, 1843. 

A day or two after Parker left, A. and L. called 
to see me. I asked, "What brings you to New 
York ? " "I don't know," said Mr. A. ; " it seems a 
miracle that we are here." But whatever the miracle 
might be, I believe it restored no blind to sight. Mr. 
C. and J. H. went to hear a discussion between them 
and W. H. C. It was held in a very small room, the 
air was stifling, and both came home with a head- 
ache. I asked Mr. C. what they talked about ? "I 
don't know." " But can't you tell anything they 
said ? ' : For some time he insisted that he could not, 
but being unmercifully urged, he at last said, "L. 
divided man into three states ; the disconscious, the 
conscious, and the unconscious. The disconscious is 
the state of a pig ; the conscious is the baptism by 
water ; and the unconscious is the baptism by fire." 
I laughed, and said, " Well, how did the whole dis- 
cussion affect your mind ? ' : " Why, after I had 
heard them talk a few minutes," replied he, " I '11 be 
cursed if I knew whether I had any mind at all ! " 

J. stayed rather longer, though he left in the midst. 
" How have you been pleased ? " said I. " They 've 
put my mind and body in a devil of a muss," replied 
he ; " and I wish they had stayed at home." " What 
did they talk about?" "They did n't know them- 
selves — how then should I ? " Being mischievous, I 
insisted that he should give some account. Being 
thus urged, he said they talked about mind and body. 
" What did they say ? " " Why, W. H. C. seemed 
to think there was some connection between mind 
and body ; but those Boston folks, so far as I could 


understand 'em, seemed to think the body was all a 

d d sham." 

This swearing, I would have you to understand, 
is not habitual, but was merely assumed for the mo- 
ment, for fun and as a safety valve to a vexed spirit. 
I write it to you, thinking it may excite a smile. 


New York, December 26, 1843. 

I had a very happy Christmas, and I will tell you 
how it happened. The watchmen picked up a little 
vagabond in the street, who said he had neither 
father nor mother, and had lost his way. He said 
his mother used to get drunk and sleep in the streets, 
but that he had not seen her for five years. They 
put him in the Tombs, not because he had committed 
any crime, but because he had nowhere to go. He 
was about ten years old. I applied to the orphan 
asylum, but he was older than their rules allowed 
them to admit. The poor child worried my mind 
greatly. On Christmas morning the asylum ladies 
sent me five dollars and a pair of nice boots for him. 
Mr. Child went to the Tombs for him, and after a 
good deal of difficulty found him and brought him 
home. He was in a situation too dirty and disgust- 
ing to describe. I cut off his hair, put him in a tub 
of water, scrubbed him from head to foot, bought a 
suit of clothes, and dressed him up. You never saw 
any little fellow so changed, and so happy in the 
change! But above all things his boots delighted 
him. I could hardly keep his eyes off them long 
enough to wash his face. " Are them boots for me ? " 
he asked ; and when I told him yes, it seemed as if 
the sun had shone out all over his face. " I never 


expected to have such a boot to my foot," said he. I 
shall remember this Christmas the longest day I live. 
As he sits before me now, making pictures on his 
slate, he every now and then thrusts out his foot, and 
examines the boots from toe to heel. He is nearly 
white, quite good-looking, remarkably bright, and 
very docile and affectionate. I do not yet know what 
I shall do with him, but I hope to get him a good 
place in the country. When I asked what he used to 
do, "I don't know exactly," said he; "sometimes I 
sat down on a stone, let the sun shine on me, and 
cried." Poor little fellow ! His joy and gratitude 
have given me a happy Christmas. 

Two years later : — 

My Christmas boy, of whom I wrote you an ac- 
count two years ago, has at last obtained a good 
place in the country. I suppose I have written half 
a hundred letters about him, trying to get a situation 
for him ; for my heart bled for the poor little friend- 
less orphan. 


New York, June 23, 1844. 
None of us here think much of the Delphic sayings 
of your " charmed lady." She seems to have hit very 
wide of the mark. David is particularly dissatis- 
fied with it ; for he thinks I am preeminently distin- 
guished for the supremacy of heart over head ; that I 
am almost ridiculously a woman in my affections. 
For myself, knowing the extreme superficiality of my 
learning, I could not help smiling at the assertion 
that my head was " heavy with intellectual knowl- 
edge." She had better have said, full of rainbows 


and buttercups. I imagine that placing the mere 
name in the hand of the somnambulist is no criterion 
at all. It ought to be some MS. bearing an impress 
of the author's sentiments and thoughts. 

I will copy for you what the Rev. Mr. Kent said 
when some fragmentary portions of one of my letters 
to the " Courier," in manuscript, were given to him in 
a sealed and blank envelope, without the person who 
gave it knowing who was the writer. It was a portion 
of my last letter, about the circulation of the blood 
of the human frame. On touching it, Mr. K. (whose 
state is said to be similar to 's) said : " The im- 
pression of this letter is pleasant — exceedingly so. 
Yet it seems somewhat disconnected. (It was in frag- 
ments.) The writer is of a very happy disposition ; 
purely and truly religious, without being sad or som- 
bre ; full of benevolence and philanthropy ; very en- 
thusiastic and poetical ; has written poetry ; mind 
quite philosophical, more so than one so poetic and 
romantic would be supposed to be ; great delicacy and 
depth of feeling. My impression is that the letter 
was written by a woman, but there is so much strength 
of intellect in it, that it may have been written by a 
man. Would not like to say certainly that it was 
written by a woman, but my feeling is strong that it 
was so. The mind is good, very good ; perhaps not 
first-rate, that is, not a giant, but very good, and very 
far above mediocrity. The person could not be guilty 
of a base action. Strong in her own integrity, very 
social, very lively, and fond of the approval of friends. 
A phrenologist would say that love of approbation 
was quite prominent. Very industrious and persever- 
ing ; charitable, and very kind-hearted. A reflecting 
mind ; reflects much and profoundly ; is inclined to 


transcendentalism. The German philosophy would 
suit it best. The letter was written on some subject 
of much interest to the writer, and under a rather 
agreeable state of feeling. The first impression con- 
veyed, on touching this letter, was that of goodness, 
purity, and intelligence of the highest order/' 

I send it to you as it was sent to me by the agent 
of the "Courier." As you seemed to be curious on 
this subject of neurology, I thought it would gratify 
your curiosity to see it. 

Dr. Palfrey called on me, on his way to New Or- 
leans. I agreed to find places for five of his slaves, 
and have done so. He behaved nobly. His brothers 
offered to let him take his share in real estate; and 
that would have satisfied the conscience of most peo- 
ple ; but he at once answered that he should consider 
such an arrangement equivalent to selling the slaves ; 
and begged that as many slaves as possible might be 
put into his share. He told me that he had some 
fears as to how Mrs. P. would approve of his resolu- 
tion, since it would alienate considerable property 
from her children, when his own pecuniary affairs 
were considerably embarrassed ; but, to his surprise 
and delight, she promptly replied, " I want no child 
of mine to inherit a dollar from the sale of slaves." 
We have not labored in vain — have we, dear Henri- 
etta ? 


New York, October 30, 1844. 
Emerson has sent me his new volume. 1 As usual, 
it is full of deep and original sayings, and touches of 
exceeding beauty. But, as usual, it takes away my 
strength. . . . What is the use of telling us that 
everything is " scene-painting and counterfeit," that 

1 Essays. Second Series. 


nothing is real, that everything eludes us ? That 
no single thing in life keeps the promise it makes ? 
Or, if any keeps it, keeps it like the witches to Mac- 
beth ? Enough of this conviction is forced upon us 
by experience, without having it echoed in literature. 
My being is so alive and earnest that it resists and 
abhors these ghastly, eluding spectres. It abhors 
them and says : " Be ye ghosts, and dwell among 
ghosts. But though all the world be dead, and re- 
solved into vapory elements, /will live?" Emerson 
would smile at this ; because it shows how deeply I 
feel the fact I quarrel with. But after all, if we ex- 
tend our vision into the regions of faith, all this mock- 
ing and unreality vanishes ; and in the highest sense 
all things keep the promises they make. Love, mar- 
riage, ambition, sorrow, nay even strong religious im- 
pressions, may and will fall short of the early promise 
they made, if we look at this life only. But they are 
all means, not ends. In that higher life we shall find 
that no deep feeling, no true experience, has slid over 
the surface of our being, and left no impression. 

What have you seen and heard of Theodore Parker 
since his return ? A friend requested him to buy a 
few engravings in Italy, and I think he chose admir- 
ably. One of them was intended for me, and if my 
spirit had been with him (as perhaps it was) he could 
not have chosen to my more complete satisfaction. 
It is the Cumsean Sibyl, by Domenichino. She holds 
a scroll of music in her hand, and seems listening 
intently to the voices of the universe. It is the like- 
ness of my soul in some of its moods. Oh, how I 
have listened ! 

It is curious, but, standing as I am on the verge of 
declining life, my senses are all growing more acute 


and clear; so acute that my sources of pain and 
pleasure are increased tenfold. I am a great deal 
more alive than I used to be. 

I live in the same quiet, secluded way. I am never 
seen in public, and the question is sometimes asked, 
" Where on earth does she pick up all she tells of 
New York in her letters to the ' Courier ? ' for no- 
body ever sees her." Willis saw my " cap," though, 
on one occasion. A bit of lace outside of my head 
was as much as I should expect him to see of me. I 
suppose you have seen his announcement to the pub- 
lic in what box I sat at Niblo's ; a fact doubtless of 
great importance to the public, fashionable and liter- 
ary. If you have seen the paragraph in his paper, 
you will know what I mean by the " cap." 


New York, December 6, 1846. 

About once a fortnight I go to a concert; music 
being the only outward thing in which I do take much 
pleasure. Friend Hopper bears a testimony against 
it, because he says it is spiritual brandy which only 
serves to intoxicate people. 

We had quite a flare-up here about a fugitive slave, 
and I wrote the " Courier " an account of it. I have 
been much amused at the attacks it has brought on 
me from the papers. The pious prints are exceed- 
ingly shocked because I called him " a living gospel 
of freedom, bound in black." It is so blasphemous 
to call a man a gospel ! The Democratic papers 
accused me of trying to influence the state election 
then pending. The fun of it is, that I did not know 
there was an election. I could not possibly have told 
whether that event takes place in spring or fall. I 


have never known anything about it since I was a 
little girl on the lookout for election cake. I know 
much better who leads the orchestras than who gov- 
erns the State. 


New York, February 12, 1847. 

Deae Unknown, — I have a question of morality 
and good manners to propound to thee. Dost thou 
think it quite proper to address anonymous letters to 
people in a hand cramped on purpose to disguise it ? 
Ah, thou rogue ! Now look me right in the eye and 
say dost thou know of anybody who has played such 
a trick, and didst thou think to blind a weasel in that 
fashion ? 

Yesterday was my birthday, and on that day many 
pleasant things occurred. Imprimis, Harnden's Ex- 
press car stopped at the door, and a package was 
brought up to me. I opened it and found a very 
beautiful edition of Mrs Jameson's " Characteristics 
of Women," purporting to come " from a woman who 
had benefited much from Mrs. Child's characteris- 
tics." "Ahem!" said T, "this evidently comes from a 
woman who knows how to shed the graces over life." 

The next pleasant thing was that my lovely S. L. 
came in with a large bouquet of violets, the fragrance 
of which filled the room. " Oh, dear Maria, though 
you were so silent about your birthday, I did not for- 
get it," said she ; and she played a rondeau and an old 
Norwegian peasant melody which Ole used to play. 
They all know the road to my heart, the rogues! 

The third pleasant incident was that the flower 
merchant in Broadway, who sold the violets, would 
not take a cent for them, because S. happened to say 


they were for Mrs. Child's birthday and he over-heard 
her. " I cannot take pay for flowers intended for 
her," said he. " She is a' stranger to me, but she has 
given my wife and children so many flowers in her 
writings, that I will never take money of her." It 
brought the tears to my eyes. I wish I was good. 
I ought to be, everybody is so kind to me. 

The fourth pleasant incident was the entrance of 
J. L., the cantatrice, and a very sweet warbler she is. 
" I did not forget your birthday," she said, and she 
placed on my head a crimson wreath and sang and 
played for me Ole's favorite melody : " Near the lake 
where droops the willow," which he has introduced 
beautifully in his " Niagara," swelling upon the wind 
instruments as if borne on the wings of angels. 

Meeting with so much unexpected kindness filled 
me with universal benevolence. I ran right off and 
gave a large portion of my violets to my friend, Mrs. 
F. G. S., who is here under Dr. Elliott's care and 
blind for the present, and the fragrance refreshed her 
though she could not see the beautiful tint. Then I 
ran in another direction and carried my little music- 
box, and another portion of my violets, to a poor man 
who is dying slowly. I wanted to give something 
and do something for the whole world. . . . But I 
must take care, for my own private theories on this 
subject touch the verge of radicalism. 

I have a confession to make to you. I intended to 
send you some little " rattletrap " on your birthday. 
But I said to myself, " that will seem like reminding 
her of my birthday. 1 She is rich and I am poor. If 
I send her plaster she will perhaps send me marble ; 
it will be more delicate not to do it." I am ashamed, 

1 Their birthdays came in the same month. 


thoroughly ashamed, of those mean ideas, for the 
thought "I am poor and thou art rich " ought never 
to enter to interrupt the free flowing of human 
souls toward each other. Nevertheless I did it as I 
have done many other things that I regret and am 
ashamed of. 

Good-by, invisible fairy princess, dropping anony- 
mous gifts from thy golden car in the clouds. 

I am ever thy affectionate and grateful subject. 


New York, March 26, 1847. 

I believe the Quakers are right in supposing that 
a salaried priesthood are positive obstacles in the 
way of human progress. I think, too, that the voca- 
tion impedes individual growth. Great, good, and 
progressive souls there doubtless are among the 
clergy ; but I do not think they are as large, as free, 
as expansive as the same natures would have been 
if removed from the social pressure to which all 
clergymen are obliged to submit. The most mettle- 
some horse loses his elasticity and bounding grace 
after plodding a while round the mill-wheel circle. 
You see how far apart we are ! You always at home 
among clericals, I at home only among poets and 
artists ! You reading Italian sermons of past centu- 
ries, I bothering my brain to prove to myself (I have 
done wishing to prove anything to anybody except 
myself) Goethe's theory of Colors, by a similar theory 
of Tones ! 

You know I always wondered why on earth you 
were interested in such a butterfly as I am. That I 
love you very sincerely is a positive fact, and not as 
unaccountable as your regard for me. Our friendship 


always seems to me like a companionship between 
Minerva and Fenella. I am sure all your wisdom 
will not enable you to tell what extraordinary leaps 
and somersets I may yet make, or whether the next 
rope I dance on will be tight or slack. 


New York, 1847. 
I have read " The Countess of Rudolstaat.U It 
seems to me an excellent translation ; but I think, as 
I thought of it in French, that it is less attractive 
than " Consuelo." I doubt whether even its being a 
continuation of that story will make it sell so well. 
It is replete with beautiful thought and high aspira- 
tions ; but even to me, who sympathize with the as- 
pirations, it is tedious. I am sorry that I am so 
wicked, but Albert, with his Hussites and Invisibles, 
is a bore to me, from beginning to end. I don't 
know what is the matter with me, but all that Ger- 
man part of the story has something about it cold and 
blue and cloudy. It chills me like walking in cav- 
erns. I long for the sunny sky of Italy again. How- 
ever, I am glad the story leaves them tramping 
through the free forests to the sound of guitar and 
violin. There is something pleasant in that. I would 
not mind having it for my heaven, with rosy children 
and the man I loved, provided he was not a Hussite ; 
which, by the way, he would not be likely to be, if I 
loved him. I suppose the trouble is that I am now 
wholly in the dispensation of art, and therefore theo- 
logians and reformers jar upon me. Even in music 
I love better the production of Catholic composers. 
In Protestant music thought predominates over feel- 
ing too much. 



New Rochelle, January 20, 1848. 

Here I am in my little out-of-the-way den, as com- 
fortable " as a grub in a nut." 

I have found it to hold good, as a general rule, that 
a person who will ask for a letter of introduction is 
sure to be a bore. If I were going to Europe, and 
letters of introduction to Wordsworth, Dickens, etc., 
were offered me, I would never present them, unless 
I happened by some accident to receive indications of 
a wish to be introduced, on the part of the men them- 
selves. What right have I to intrude upon their time, 
and satisfy my impertinent curiosity by an inventory 
of their furniture and surroundings ? Dignify it 
as they may, by talk about reverence for genius, 
loving a man for his writings, etc., I have always 
believed it a game of vanity, both with those who 
offer it, and those who are pleased with it. However, 
it is no matter whether I am wrong, or the customs 
of society are wrong. I am snugly out of the way of 
them here. Never was such a lonely place ! As I 
trudged from the depot to honest Joseph's, about four 
miles, I met no living thing except one pig and four 
geese. But my low- walled room, over the old Dutch 
stoop, faces the south, and when I open my eyes in 
the morning they are greeted by beautiful " golden 
water " on the wall, the reflection of the rising sun 
through the lattice bars of my willow window cur- 
tains. I eat well, sleep well, dream pleasantly, read 
agreeable books, and am serenely contented with ex- 
istence. I can go to the city^whenever I choose, and 
am always sure of a cordial welcome at Friend Hop- 
per's, where I hire a little bit of an upper bed-room 


for ray especial convenience. So you see I am quite 
like a lady "of property and standing," with both 
country and city residence. 


New Rochelle, January 14, 1849. 
As for amusements, music is the only thing that 
excites me, and the excitement that affords is most 
frequently tinged with sadness, though sometimes it 
goes tingling through my whole soul, like spiritual 
electricity. Your eloquent extract is rather " ob- 
scura." However, I feel that music is " the song 
of creative origination," though I cannot explain it. 
When T try to put it into thought, I say that all 
colors, all perfumes, all chemical affinities, rose into 
being and arranged themselves according to the keys 
of music, and the modulation of music. Bettina had 
the same idea. When writing on music, she said 
" the secret of creation seems to lie on my tongue." 
My friends, the ancient Hindoos, say the seven notes 
of music were the first thing created by the wife of 
Brama, even before they made the mundane egg. 
But enough of this. I have a chronic insanity with 
regard to music. It is the only Pegasus which now 
carries me far up into the blue. Thank God for this 
great blessing of mine ! However, if I am to sing 
through eternity I hope it won't be with all " elders," 
as Revelation has it. You perceive I am in a wicked 
mood to-day. In all moods, I love you truly, and am 
ever your grateful and affectionate sister. 



New York, July 14, 1848. 
My book 1 gets slowly on. I am not sustained by 
the least hope that my mode of treating the subject 
will prove acceptable to any class of persons. No 
matter ! I am going to tell the plain unvarnished 
truth, as clearly as I can understand it, and let Chris- 
tians and Infidels, Orthodox and Unitarians, Cath- 
olics and Protestants and Swedenborgians, growl as 
they like. They all will growl if they notice the 
book at all; for each one will want to have his own 
theory favored, and the only thing I have conscien- 
tiously aimed at is not to favor any theory. . . . How 
queer it seems to me to read long arguments to prove 
that Philo must have had some idea of the Christian 
Trinity ! Because Plato stands behind Christ, they 
cannot see him, though his head and shoulders are so 
plainly visible. One thing I have learned, in the 
course of my labors. It is of no use to ask questions 
of others, or seek assistance from them, unless it be 
concerning the titles of books which contain the 
most trustworthy information. More and more I 
feel that every sort of salvation we do attain to in 
this life must be worked out by ourselves. 


New York, November 7, 1849. 
I spent most of last Sunday with Fredrika Bre- 
mer ; four or five hours entirely alone with her. 
Mrs. S. very kindly invited me to meet her there. 
What a refreshment it was ! She is so artless and 

1 The Progress of Religious Ideas through Successive Ages. By L. 
Maria Child. In three volumes. New York, 1855. 


unaffected, such a reality ! I took a wonderful lik- 
ing to her, though she is very plain in her person, 
and I am a fool about beauty. We talked about 
Swedenborg, and Thorwaldsen, and Jenny Lind, and 
Andersen. She had many pleasant anecdotes to tell 
of Jenny, with whom she is intimately acquainted. 
Among other things, she mentioned having once seen 
her called out in Stockholm, after having successfully 
performed in a favorite opera. She was greeted not 
only with thundering claps, but with vociferous 
hurrahs. In the midst of the din she began to 
warble merely the notes of an air in which she was 
very popular. The ritournelle was, " How shall I 
describe what my heart is feeling ? " She uttered no 
words, she merely warbled the notes, clear as a lark, 
strong as an organ. Every other sound was instantly 
hushed. Graceful — was it not ? Fredrika plays 
the piano with a light and delicate touch, and in a 
style indicative of musical feeling. She played to 
me a charming quaint old Swedish melody, the Song 
of Necken, the ancient Spirit of the Rivers, as he sat 
on the waters, singing to the accompaniment of his 
harp. She sketches admirable likenesses with col- 
ored crayons. She showed me one she had made of 
Andersen, a whole gallery of celebrated Danes, and a 
few Americans whom she has sketched since her 
arrival. I particularly liked her for one thing ; she 
did not attempt to compliment me, either directly or 
indirectly. She never heard of J. R. Lowell till she 
came here. His poetry has inspired her with strong 
enthusiasm. She said to me, " He is the poet prophet 
of America." Emerson seems to have made on her 
the same vivid impression that he makes on all orig- 
inal and thinking minds. What a fuss they will 


make with Fredrika in Boston ! She will have no 
peace of her life. I hope they will not be ambitious 
of burying her by the side of Dr. Spurzheim. 


West Newton [Mass.], September 14, 1850. 
The morning after you left, when I opened the 
front door I found a box against it which proved to 
be the box. My dear lady, you are too overpowering 
in your goodness ! It made me cry to see how you 
loaded me with benefits. But I pray you curb your 
generosity a little. I love you for your own sake, 
and if in some unlucky hour my conscience whispers 
to my heart that I ought to love you because you are 
so good to me, then it will be hot work, for my 
savage love of freedom will resist the claim like a 
tiger. So pray don't bring me into such a dilemma. 
The pitcher is a superb affair. Antique and classical 
to my heart's content. I seem to be very anti-tem- 
perance in my surroundings. The pitcher is tipsy, 
my beautiful young Cupidon has his heart merry with 
wine, the head of my sacrificial bull is crowned with 
grapes, and my candlesticks are interwoven grape- 
vines. Luckily, I have no weakness of that sort. If 
myrtle wreaths abounded everywhere, I might feel a 
little conscious. You say the candlesticks are asso- 
ciated with pleasant times in New York, which we 
shall never have again. How do you know that, lady 
fair ? I have been saddened by such a thought some- 
times, but there gleamed across the shadow a bright 
idea that perhaps some day you and I would set off 
to New York a-pleasuring, afoot and alone. I could 
stay quietly at Friend Hopper's while you flirted 
among the fashionables, and when you had leisure, 


we could go and sit together on carpet bales, or eat 
ginger-snaps on a door-step in State n Island. What 
does the Lady Mayoress of Salem think of that dig- 
nified suggestion ? 


West Newton, August 24, 1851. 
There seems to be a lull just now in fugitive slave 
matters. What experiment our masters will try next, 
remains to be shown. The commercial and moneyed 
portion of the community will doubtless obey their 
orders to any extent. But in the heart of the people 
I think a better and braver sentiment is gradually 
being formed. A friend of mine in Medford shel- 
tered a fugitive a short time ago. When the firemen 
of the town heard of it, they sent for the man chat- 
tel, elected him a member of their company, and 
promised, at a given signal, to rally for his defence 
in case he was pursued, and to stand by him to the 
death, one and all. 


West Newton, 1852. 
Do you know that Harriet Hosmer, daughter of a 
physician in Watertown, has produced a remarkably 
good piece of statuary ? It is a bust of Vesper, the 
Evening Star. I never saw a tender, happy drowsi- 
ness so well expressed. A star shining on her fore- 
head, and beneath her breast lies the crescent moon. 
Her graceful hair is intertwined with capsules of the 
poppy. It is cut with great delicacy and precision, 
and the flesh seems to me very flesh-like. The poetic 
conception is her own, and the workmanship is all her 
own. A man worked upon it a day and a half, to 


chip off large bits of marble ; but she did not venture 
to have him go within several inches of the surface 
she intended to work. Miss Hosmer is going to 
Rome in October, accompanied by her father, a plain, 
sensible man, of competent property. She expects 
to remain in Italy three years, with the view of be- 
coming a sculptor by profession. . . . 

Mrs. Stowe's truly great work, " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin," has also done much to command respect for 
the faculties of woman. Whittier has poured forth, 
verses upon it ; Horace Mann has eulogized it in 
Congress ; Lord Morpeth is carried away with it ; the 
music stores are full of pieces of music suggested by 
its different scenes ; somebody is going to dramatize 
it ; and 100,000 copies sold in little more than six 
months ! Never did any American work have such 
success ! The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law 
roused her up to write it. Behold how " God makes 
the wrath of man to praise Him ! " Charles Sumner 
has made a magnificent speech in Congress against 
the Fugitive Slave Law. How thankful I was for it ! 
God bless him ! The Republican party don't know 
how to appreciate his honesty and moral courage. 
They think he makes a mistake in speaking the 
truth, and does it because he don't know any better. 
They do not perceive how immeasurably superior his 
straightforwardness is to their crookedness. History 
will do him justice. 

It is really droll to see in what different states of 
mind people read " Uncle Tom." Mr. Pierce, Senator 
from Maryland, read it lately, and when he came to 
the sale of " Uncle Tom," he exclaimed with great 
emotion, " Here's a writer that knows how to sympa- 
thize with the South ! I could fall down at the feet 


of that woman ! She knows how to feel for a man 
when he is obliged to sell a good honest slave ! " In 
his view the book was intended as a balsam for be- 
reaved slave-holders. 


Watland, January 22, 1854. 

Did you ever see, among a series of frescoes by 
Correggio, somewhere in Italy, Diana with a crescent 
on her brow, guiding her chariot through the clouds ? 
The engraving of it by Toschi is, to me, the most 
graceful, beautiful, altogether perfect thing I ever did 
see. It is a glorious woman, and yet, in expression, 
the real full moon, guiding her bright chariot through 
the heavens. If I lived where it was I should make 
a little golden altar, and burn incense before it. You 
see there is no washing my Greek heathenism out of 
me. What is the reason that a region so totally 
unlike my homely environment in the outward 
world has always seemed to me so like a remembered 
home ? . . . 

Things are going on at a terrible rate on the slav- 
ery question. They are trying in Congress to vote 
payment to the piratical claimants of the Amistad, 
and to abolish the obligation of Southerners in the 
Missouri compromise. Think of that ! Gerrit Smith 
is in Congress now, and has made a noble speech. 
He was interrupted by a member from Maryland, 
who tried to put him down at the outset by saying, 
" It appears that the gentleman from New York in- 
tends to give us an anti-slavery speech." With dig- 
nified courtesy, Mr. Smith replied, " I do intend to 
make an anti-slavery speech ; and if the gentleman 
from Maryland wishes to make a pro-slavery speech, 


I shall listen to him with all courtesy." He is the 
first one that has stood up like a man, and boldly 
professed to be an abolitionist. The Southerners re- 
spected him, in spite of themselves ; for honesty and 
boldness will be respected. It is reported that one 
said to another, " We have not only got an honest 
man among us, but the best debater of us all." The 
honest man was a rarity ! 

Dear Sarah's beautiful articles found a ready sale 
at the anti-slavery fair. Was it not a touching in- 
cident that a poor German peasant, who had read 
" Uncle Tom," should have taken down two engrav- 1 
ings from the walls of his cabin and sent them to the 
fair in Boston ? I would have expended my last dol- 
lar for them, but unfortunately they were lost by 
shipwreck. Such things make us forget a thousand 
disappointments in human nature. . . . 

Sarah writes that you were disappointed in the 
Sphinx. The description of travellers has not led me 
to suppose there was anything attractive in the Sphinx 
itself. But Gliddon's " Panorama of the Nile," where 
the Sphinx appears just as evening closes her curtains 
and " pins them with a star," made a deep impression 
on my imagination. The huge, dark, almost shape- 
less mass, strange, silent relic of such a remote past, 
so dim and solemn in the desert stillness, seemed to 
me invested with awful grandeur. I don't wonder 
your brother was afraid to stay alone with those co- 
lossal statues of Egypt. A mysterious, disturbing 
influence comes over the soul when the Past looks 
us in the face, so like the eternal eye of God. 

With regard to the present, here in our own coun- 
try, my dear friend, it is gloomy enough. ... Of all 
our servile Senates, none have been so completely 


servile to the slave interest as the present one. They 
have passed the Nebraska Bill in open defiance of the 
people. . . . These measures have been followed up 
by the most outrageous insults and aggressions upon 
the North. Only three days ago another poor slave 
was hunted in Boston, and though a pretty general 
indignation was excited, he was given up by the 
Boston magistrates and triumphantly carried back to 
bondage, guarded by a strong escort of United States 
troops. 1 The court-house was nearly filled with 
troops and hired ruffians, armed with cutlasses and 
bowie-knives. No citizen was allowed to enter with- 
out a pass, as is the custom with slaves ; and these 
passes were obtained with great difficulty, none being 
given to any one suspected of being friendly to the 
slave. The Rev. Samuel May had his pass taken from 
him, and he was thrust out rudely by the soldiers. 
Men were even arrested and imprisoned for merely 
making observations to each other which the ruling 
powers considered dangerous. My dear friend, my 
very soul is sick in view of these things. They tell 
me " The Lord will surely arise for the sighing of the 
poor and the needy," as he has promised. I think to 
myself, " Oh yes, that promise was made some three 
thousand years ago, and the fulfilment seems as far 
off as ever." But I suppress the impatient blasphemy, 
and only say, as poor Aunt Chloe does in " Uncle 
Tom," " Yes, missis, but the Lord lets dreadful 
things happen." 

Whether there is any limit to the servile submis- 
sion of the North, I know not. The South seems 
resolved to try to the utmost how much kicking and 
cuffing she will bear. The " Richmond Enquirer " 
compares the connection between North and South 

1 The rendition of Anthonv Bums. 


to the relation between Greece and her Roman mas- 
ters. ■ The dignity and energy of the Roman char- 
acter conspicuous in war and politics, were not easily 
tamed and adjusted to the arts 'of industry and litera- 
ture. The degenerate and pliant Greeks, on the con- 
trary obsequious, dexterous, and ready, monopolized 
toe business of teaching and manufacturing in the 
Koman Empire, allowing their masters ample leisure 

T,a Txf rV ' Ce ° f the state ' in the Sen ate or the 
Held We learn from Juvenal that they were the 
most useful and capable servants, whether as pimps 
or professors of rhetoric." Now do you know that 
my inmost soul rejoices in all these manifestations of 
contempt ? The North richly deserves them, and I 
have a faint hope that they may be heaped on till 
some of the old spirit is roused. There was a large 
meeting at Faneuil Hall when the slave was arrested. 
Mr. Russell pressed, and the speeches and resolu- 
tions were uncommonly spirited and eloquent. But 
they talked boldly of a rescue the next morning, and 
so did more harm than good by forewarning the 
Southerners, and giving them time to summon a 
great array of United States troops. If they had 
only struck when the iron was hot, and used very 
slight precautions, I think the poor slave might have 
been rescued without shedding blood. But it was not 
done, and "order reigns in Warsaw," as the Russia! 
offices declared after the knout had driven all he 
Polish heroes into Siberia. My soul is just now in a 
stoi-my state , and it (<law and I ge ' a 

mood w ! y ° n , the W1 '° ng Side - This &*«« 
mood will soon g,ve place to a milder one. But oh 

Sdom t'h COntinilall y baffled efforts for human 

-» edom, they are agonizing to the sympathizing soul 



Wayland, February 24, 1856. 

David has signed rfry will and I have sealed it up 
and put it away. It excited my towering indigna- 
tion to think it was necessary for him to sign it, and 
if you had been by, you would have made the matter 
worse by repeating your old manly "fling and twit" 
about married women being dead in the law. I was 
not indignant on my own account, for David respects 
the freedom of all women upon principle, and mine in 
particular by reason of affection superadded. But I 
was indignant for womankind made chattels personal 
from the beginning of time, perpetually insulted by 
literature, law, and custom. The very phrases used 
with regard to us are abominable. " Dead in the 
law," " Femme couverte." How I detest such lan- 
guage ! I must come out with a broadside on that 
subject before I die. If I don't, I shall walk and rap 


Wayland, February 27, 1856. 

Concerning theology, I still have a difficulty in 
seeing eye to eye with you. If there is such a sci- 
ence, I should define it as treating of man's relations 
with God ; while ethics treat of his relations with 
fellow-men. Is there any basis for a science con- 
cerning the nature of the Divine Being, and the re- 
lations of human souls with him? What have we 
for guides into the infinite, except faith and aspira- 
tion ? And must not faith and aspiration necessarily 
differ in individuals, according to temperament, edu- 
cation, and other external influences? 

I am passing through strange spiritual experiences ; 


not at all of my own seeking or willing. Ideas which 
formerly seemed to me a foundation firm as the ever- 
astmg Mb, are rolling away from under my feet 
leaving me on a ladder poised on the clouds. Still 
the ladder stays fixed, like Jupiter and the Virgin 
Mary seated on clouds in pictures. I have ceased to 
believe that any revelation written for one age or in 
one age can be adapted to all ages. I once thought 

1* !T. n T SP i tUal meanin S invested th e Christian 
sac led books with a character infinite and eternal. 
I tned Swedenborg's key of correspondences, but it 
unlocked nothing. Wander where I would, I found 

J° g ~ bed on tbe *^> but that everlasting 
duality of" Love and Wisdom." Every mineral sail 
it, every flower said it, and the archangel said no 


rp, . , Wayland, March 23, 1856. 

Ihis winter has been the loneliest of my life If 
you could know my situation you would pronounce it 
unendurable. I should have thought it so myself if 
I had had a foreshadowing of it a few years ago. 
But the human mind can get acclimated to anything. 
What with constant occupation and the happy con- 
sciousness of sustaining and cheering my poor old 

father in his descent mh, +i,„ t l 

ms descent into the grave, I am almost 

always m a state of serene contentment. In sum- 
mer my once extravagant love of beauty satisfies 
itself with watching the birds, the insectsf and the 
flowers in my little patch of a garden. I have no 
room in which to put the vases and engravings and that friends have given me from time 
to time. But I keep them safely in a large chest 
and when birds and flowers are gone I somethnes 


take them out, as a child does its playthings, and sit 
down in the sunshine with them, dreaming how life 
would seem in such places, and how poets and artists 
came to imagine such images. This process some- 
times gives rise to thoughts which float through the 
universe, though they began in a simple craving to 
look at something beautiful. A photograph of Raph- 
ael's Sibyls, given to me by Mrs. S., remarkably has 
this effect upon me. I don't know what it is that 
draws me so toward those ancient Grecians ! I sup- 
pose this same attraction toward Grecian forms of 
art is what made me in love with Mendelssohn's 
music ; because I felt (without understanding) its 
harmonious proportions, its Doric simplicity, its fin- 
ished beauty. I recognize the superior originality 
and power of Beethoven ; but he does not minister to 
my soul as he does to yours. He overpowers me, — 
fills me with awe. His music makes me feel as if I 
were among huge black mountains, looking at a nar- 
row strip of brilliant stars, seen through narrow 
clefts in the frowning rocks, in the far-off heaven. I 
love best to hear the " Pastoral Symphony," which is 
the least Beethovenish of all. The fact is, my nature 
has less affinity for grandeur and sublimity, than it 
has for grace and beauty. I never looked twice at 
engravings from Michael Angelo ; while I dream 
away hours and hours over copies from Raphael. 


Wayland, May 11, 1856. 

Since you will think of me as an " author," I am 
glad that you think of me as " an alive author ; " for 
so long as I write at all, I desire to be very much 


This is the second time I have walked out in stormy 
weather without a cloak. My " Appeal " in favor of 
anti-slavery, and attacking colonization, marched 
into the enemy's camp alone. It brought Dr. Chan- 
ning to see me, for the first time ; and he told me it 
had stirred up his mind to the conviction that he 
ought not to remain silent on the subject. Then 
came Dr. Palfrey, who, years afterward, said that 
the emancipation of his slaves might be traced to the 
impulse that book had given him. Charles Sumner 
writes me that the influence of my anti-slavery writ- 
ings years ago has had an important effect on his 
course in Congress. . . . Who can tell how many 
young minds may be so influenced by the ''Progress 
of Religious Ideas " as to materially change their ca- 
reer ? I trust I have never impelled any one in the 
wrong direction. In the simplest things I write, 
whether for children or grown people, I always try 
to sow some seeds for freedom, truth, and humanity, 
b. J. May writes to me very warmly about the big 
book. He says he has commended it from his pul- 
pit, as " the most valuable contribution to an en- 
larged, charitable, and true theology that has been 
made by any one in our country." Of course, you 
will not understand him as meaning to compare me 
with such minds as Theodore Parker ; but he con- 
siders my book more valuable than those written by 
many abler pens, because it is not written in the 
spirit of an opponent to prevailing false theologies. 

You are right in supposing that while engaged on 
that work I "felt like an inhabitant of the second and' 
third centuries." Everything around me seemed for- 
eign, as it did when I came out of Athens into Bos- 
ton, after writing « Philothea." That was a pleasant 


ramble into classic lands ; but this " Progress of Re- 
ligious Ideas " was a real pilgrimage of penance, with 
peas in my shoes, walking over rubble-stones most of 
the way. You have no idea of the labor ! It was 
greatly increased by my distance from libraries, 
nearly all the time, which rendered copious extracts 
necessary. How absurdly the Old Testament is 
treated by Christians ! used for all convenient pur- 
poses, neglected whenever it is inconvenient ! Moses 
is good authority for holding slaves, but not for the 
healthy practice of abstaining from the use of pork. 
. . . Most devoutly do I believe in the pervasive 
and ever-guiding Spirit of God ; but I do not believe 
it was ever shut up within the covers of any book, 
or that it ever can be. Portions of it, or rather 
breathings of it, are in many books. The words of 
Christ seem to me full of it, as no other words are. 
But if we want truth, we must listen to the voice of 
God in the silence of. our own souls as he did. 


Watland, 1856. 

The outrage upon Charles Sumner made me liter- 
ally ill for several days. It brought on nervous head- 
ache and painful suffocations about the heart. If I 
could only have done something, it would have loos- 
ened that tight ligature that seemed to stop the flow- 
ing of my blood. But I never was one who knew 
how to serve the Lord by standing and waiting ; and 
to stand and wait then ! It almost drove me mad. 
And that miserable Faneuil Hall meeting ! The time- 
serving Mr. talking about his "friend" Sum- 
ner's being a man that " hit hard ! ' ; making the 
people laugh at his own witticisms, when a volcano 


was seething beneath their feet ! poisoning the well- 
spring of popular indignation, which was rising in its 
might ! Mr. A., on the eve of departing for Europe, 
wrote to me, " The North will not really do anything 
to maintain their own dignity. See if they do ! I am 
willing to go abroad, to find some relief from the 
mental pain that the course of public affairs in this 
country has for many years caused me." But I am 
more hopeful. Such a man as Charles Sumner will 
not bleed and suffer in vain. Those noble martyrs of 
liberty in Kansas will prove missionary ghosts, walk- 
ing through the land, rousing the nation from its 
guilty slumbers. Our hopes, like yours, rest on Fre- 
mont. I would almost lay down my life to have him 
elected. There never has been such a crisis since 
we were a nation. If the slave-power is checked 
now, it will never regain its strength. If it is not 
checked, civil war is inevitable ; and, with all my 
horror of bloodshed, I could be better resigned to 
that great calamity than to endure the tyranny that 
has so long trampled on us. I do believe the North 
will not, this time, fall asleep again, after shaking 
her mane and growling a little. 

I saw by the papers that Mr. Curtis was in the 
field, and I rejoiced to know he was devoting his 
brilliant talents and generous sympathies to so noble 
a purpose. I envy him ; I want to mount the rostrum 
myself. I have such a fire burning in my soul, that it 
seems to me I could pour forth a stream of lava that 
would bury all the respectable servilities, and all the 
mob servilities, as deep as Pompeii ; so that it would 
be an enormous labor ever to dig up the skeletons of 
their memories. 

We also talk of little else but Kansas and Fremont. 


What a shame the women can't vote ! We 'd carry our 
" Jessie " into the White House on our shoulders ; 
would n't we ? Never mind ! Wait a while ! Woman 
stock is rising in the market. I shall not live to see 
women vote ; but I '11 come and rap at the ballot- 
box. Won't you ? I never was bitten by politics 
before ; but such mighty issues are depending on this 
election that I cannot be indifferent. 


Watland, July 9, 1856. 

I did not intend to leave your New York letter so 
long unanswered, but the fact is, recent events have 
made me heart-sick. My anxiety about Charles Sum- 
ner and about the sufferers in Kansas has thrown 
a pall over everything. The fire of indignation is 
the only thing that has lighted up my gloom. At 
times my peace principles have shivered in the wind ; 
and nothing could satisfy my mood but Jeanne d' Arc's 
floating banner and consecrated sword. And when 
this state of mind was rebuked by the remembrance 
of him who taught us to overcome evil only with 
good, I could do nothing better than groan out, in a 
tone of despairing reproach, " How long, O Lord ! 
how long ? " Certainly there are gleams of light 
amid the darkness. There has been more spirit 
roused in the North than I thought was in her. I 
begin to hope that either the slave power must yield 
to argument and the majesty of public sentiment or 
else that we shall see an army in the field, stout and 
unyielding as Cromwell's band. . . . 

I thank you very heartily for Mr. Wasson's ser- 
mon, " The Universe No Failure." It is the most 
remarkable discourse I ever read. He puts the lever 


down deep enough to upheave the foundations of er- 
ror. He builds his battery high enough to command 
the most towering fortifications of superstition. That 
is what we need. Unless the root is dug up, the 
branches will always be sprouting into new fantastic 
forms, however they may be lopped and pruned. I 
exclaimed " Bravo ! " to his first sermon ; but over 
this, I shouted " Bravissimo ! " I see that he at- 
tended the meeting of Progressive Friends. 1 I take 
considerable interest in that movement. I have hopes 
that it will prove the nucleus of such a form of wor- 
ship as I have dreamed of for years. 


Wayland, July 20, 1856. 

I am extremely obliged to you for the loan of Mr. 
Furness's letter, which was very interesting to me on 
various accounts. If I had a head easily turned, I 
might be in danger of the lunatic asylum from the 
effects of that portion relating to myself. To have 
a man like Mr. Furness pronounce a letter of mine 
worth Mr. Sumner's having his head broken for, 
though the phrase be used only in the way of playful 
hyperbole, is a gust of eulogy enough to upset a light 
boat. Luckily, the vessel I sail in is old and heavy, 
and of late years carries much more ballast than 
sail. Still, I confess I was much gratified to know 
that Mr. Furness liked the letter. To my own mind, 
it seemed so altogether inadequate to express the ad- 
miration, respect, and gratitude I feel for Mr. Sum- 
ner, that I was in great doubt about sending it. Mr. 
Child assured me that I need have no fears ; that Mr. 
Sumner would undoubtedly be gratified by it, etc. ; 

1 A reformatory gathering held yearly in Chester County, Penn- 
sylvania. 6 


but my good husband is so apt to like whatever I do, 
that I did not consider him a very impartial witness. 
It is heart-cheering to see a man ready to lay his 
beautiful gifts so unreservedly on the altar of freedom 
and humanity as W. H. Furness has done. On 
various occasions I have felt deeply grateful to him 
for the brave, true words he has spoken, and what 
he said on the Kansas question was worthy of himself 
and the cause. 


Wayland, October 26, 1856. 

I intended to have written to you immediately after 
I received your very kind and pressing invitation to 
come to Beverly. . . . Oh, what misery it is, to feel 
such a fever heat of anxiety as I do, and yet be shut 
up in a pen-fold, where I cannot act ! It seems to me 
sometimes as if I could tear up a mountain, and 
throw it so that all false Democrats and stiff old fo- 
gies would be buried under it forever. All the fire 
there is in me is burning : and Nature gave me a fear- 
ful amount of it. You see, dear, I should be a very 
dangerous and explosive guest, just at this time ; es- 
pecially if you happened to have any amiable apolo- 
gizers about. 


Wayland, October 27, 1856. 
I have thought enough about my dear absent mate, 
but I have found it nearly impossible to get an hour's 
time to tell him so. In the first place, there was the 
press waiting for that Kansas story. . . . Then I felt 
bound to stir up the women here to do something for 
Kansas ; and, in order to set the example, I wrote to 
Mr. Hovey begging for a piece of cheap calico and of 
unbleached factory cotton. He sent them, but said 


he did it out of courtesy to me ; he himself deeming 
that money and energy had better be expended on 
the immediate abolition of slavery, and dissolution of 
the Union if that could not be soon brought about. 
I did not think it best to wait for either of these 
events before I made up the cloth. Cold weather 
was coming on, the emigrants would be down with 
fever and ague, and the roads would soon be in a 
bad state for baggage wagons. So I hurried night 
and day, sitting up here all alone till eleven at night, 
stitching as fast as my fingers could go. It was a 
heavy job to cut and make more than sixty yards of 
cloth into garments, but with help from Mrs. R. and 
the children I completed it in eight days. The women 
in town, both Orthodox and Unitarian, came up to 
the work cordially, and sent about sixty dollars' worth 
of clothing. 

I think you will gather from this account that I 
have had little leisure since you left. Oh dear ! how 
I have missed you. My nest seems so dreary with- 
out my kind mate. I have nobody to plague, nobody 
to scold at, nobody to talk loving nonsense to. I do 
long to have you get back. Voting day will bring 
you, of course. If you don't come, I shall put on your 
old hat and coat, and vote for you. 

Alas, I am afraid it is no matter what New Eng- 
land does, since Pennsylvania and Illinois seem likely 
to go so wrong. My anxiety on the subject has been 
intense. It seemed as if my beart would burst if I 
could not do something to help on the election. But 
all I could do was to write a song for the Free Soil 
men. If you had been here I should have had some- 
body to admire my effort, but as it is I don't know 
whether anybody likes it or not. I have been told 


that the " Boston Post " was down upon me for the 
verse about President Pierce. I could n't help it. His 
name would not rhyme to anything but curse ! . . . 

The scenery up in that hilly region must indeed 
be beautiful this sunny autumn. I should mightily 
enjoy rambling about with you, but then I think the 
pleasure would be more than balanced by the liabil- 
ity of being called upon by such highly respectable 
people. I should demur about heaven itself on such 


Watland, October 28, 1856. 

Did you take note of T. W. Higginson's sermon to 
the people of Lawrence, in Kansas ? His text was 
from the Prophet Nehemiah, commanding the peo- 
ple " to fight for their wives, their children, and their 
homes." What a convenient book that Old Testa- 
ment is, whenever there is any fighting to be done. 
Many people seem to be greatly shocked by Higgin- 
son's course ; but if they admit that war is ever justi- 
fiable, I think they are inconsistent to blame him. 
If the heroes of '76 were praiseworthy, the heroes of 
Kansas will be more praiseworthy for maintaining 
their rights, even unto death. But, "It is treason; 
it is revolution," they exclaim. They seem to forget 
that the war of '76 was precisely that. It was a 
contest with our own government, not with a foreign 
foe ; and the wrongs to be redressed were not worthy 
of a thought in comparison with the accumulation of 
outrages upon the free settlers in Kansas. This bat- 
tle with the overgrown slave power is verily the 
great battle of Armageddon. I suppose you know 
that the Supreme Court of the United States has set- 
tled everything according to the requisitions of the 


South ? It has decided that slaves may be brought 
into the free States, like any other property. Such 
a decision is in direct opposition to the decision of 
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. If the old 
Commonwealth don't rise in her moral strength at 
this attempt to lay the yoke on her, why, then, in- 
deed, the spirit of the Puritans and of '76 has died 
out ; and we must all drift together toward a military 
despotism, with slave-holders for officers" and foreign- 
ers for soldiers. 


Watland, October 27, 1856. 
Your letter accompanying Mr. Curtis's oration 
came safely to hand. The oration is eloquent, brill- 
iant, manly, and every way admirable. Among the 
many good things which this crisis has brought forth, 
I am inclined to pronounce it the best. How glad I 
am to see Mr. Curtis looming up to such a lofty stat- 
ure of manliness. This I attribute in part to the 
crisis, so well adapted to call out all the manhood 
there is in souls. I smiled to read that he had 
warmed up N. P. W. to such a degree that he an- 
nounced his intention to deposit his " virgin vote " 
for Fremont. It was pleasant to learn that he had 
anything " virgin " left to swear by. What a Rip ! 
to lie sleeping fifty years, dreaming of kid gloves, 
embroidered vests, and perfumed handkerchiefs, tak- 
ing it for granted that his country was all the while 
going forward in a righteous and glorious career. 
Is n't it too bad that such parasol-holders should have 
the right to vote, while earnest souls like you and me 
must await the result in agonizing inaction ? Things 
look squally ; don't they, dear? But while there is 


life, there is hope. A bright little girl, about five 
years old, lives near by. She has heard enough of 
my talk to know that I have Fremont's election 
deeply at heart, and so she feels bound to keep me 
booked up during Mr. Child's absence. When she 
heard her father read that the western counties of 
Pennsylvania had given a majority for him, she came 
flying over, and called out, under my window, " Miss 
Child ! Pennsylvany 's all right," and away she ran. 
... I have been writing for various papers about 
Kansas. I have been stirring up the women here to 
make garments for Kansas. . . . Oh, S., you don't 
realize what a blessing you enjoy in having money 
enough to obey your generous impulses ! The most 
pinching part of poverty is that which nips such im- 
pulses in the bud. But there is compensation in all 
things. I dare say I took more satisfaction in stitch- 
ing away at midnight than our friend does in saying 
to her husband, " My dear, I want one hundred dol- 
lars to pay a seamstress for sewing for Kansas." 


Wayland, November 19, 1856. 

My DEAR GOOD David, — Things remain much 
as when you left. . . . Brother Convers asked me to 
thank you for your speech. He said he thought it 
excellent, and remarked that it contained several im- 
portant facts that were new to him. . . . 

How melancholy I felt when you went off in the 
morning darkness. It seemed as if everything about 
me was tumbling down ; as if I never were to have a 
nest and a mate any more. Good, kind, generous, 
magnanimous soul ! How I love you. How I long 
to say over the old prayer again every night. It al- 


most made me cry to see how carefully you had ar- 
ranged everything for my comfort before you went, — 
so much kindling stuff split up and the bricks piled 
up to protect my flowers. 


Wayland, December 8, 1856. 

Yes, my beloved friend, the old man has gone 
home ; 1 and unless you had had such a charge for 
three years, you could not imagine how lonely and 
desolate I feel. Night and day he was on my mind, 
and now the occupation of my life seems gone. I 
have much work to do, both mental and manual ; 
but as yet I cannot settle down to work. Always 
that dreary void ! I went to, Boston and spent four 
days ; but the dreariness went with me. The old 
man loved me ; and you know how foolishly my nat- 
ure craves love. . . . Always when I came back from 
Boston there was a bright fire-light in his room for 
me, and his hand was eagerly stretched out, and the 
old face lighted up, as he said, " You 're welcome 
back, Maria." This time, when I came home, it was 
all dark and silent. I almost cried myself blind, and 
thought I would willingly be fettered to his bedside 
for years, if I could only hear that voice again. This 
is weakness, I know. My spirits will doubtless re- 
bound from the pressure as soon as I can fairly get to 
work. Work ! work ! that is my unfailing cure for 
all troubles. . . . 

I am greatly delighted with Mrs. Browning's 
" Aurora Leigh." It is full of strong things, and 
brilliant things, and beautiful things. And how glad 
I am to see modern literature tending so much toward 
the breaking down of social distinctions ! 
1 Death of her father. 



Wayland, January 7, 1857. 

When will my dear good David come ? I stayed 
nine days in Boston, Medford, and Cambridge, and 
returned here New Year's Day. I had a variety of 
experiences, nearly all of them pleasant ; but they 
are better to tell than to write. I shall have a great 
budget to open when you come. I received a letter 
and a Berkshire paper from you. 

Charles Sumner called to see me and brought me 
his photograph. We talked together two hours, and 
I never received such an impression of holiness from 
mortal man. Not an ungentle word did he utter con- 
cerning Brooks or any of the political enemies who 
have been slandering and insulting him for years. 
He only regretted the existence of a vicious institu- 
tion which inevitably barbarized those who grew up 
under its influence. 

Henry Wilson came into the anti-slavery fair, and 
I talked with him an hour or so. He told me I could 
form no idea of the state of things in Washington. As 
he passes through the streets in the evening, he says 
the air is filled with yells and curses from the oyster 
shops and gambling saloons, the burden of which is 
all manner of threatened violence to Seward and Sum- 
ner and Wilson and Burlingame. While he was 
making his last speech, the Southern members tried 
to insult him in every way. One of them actually 
brandished his cane as if about to strike him, but he 
ignored the presence of him and his cane, and went 
on with his speech. He says he never leaves his room 
to go into the Senate without thinking whether he has 
left everything arranged as he should wish if he were 
never to return to it alive. 


What do you think Edmund Benson sent me for a 
Christinas present ? An order for one hundred dol- 
lars, to be used for Kansas ! 


Wayland, January 9, 1857. 

As for the rank which the world assigns to one avo- 
cation over another, I can hardly find words significant 
enough to express the low estimate I put upon it. 
The lawyer who feels above the bookseller seems to 
me just as ridiculous as the orange-woman who ob- 
jected to selling Hannah More's tracts. " I sell bal- 
lads ! " she exclaimed. " Why, I don't even sell ap- 
ples ! ' : How absurdly we poor blundering mortals 
lose sight of the reality of things, under the veil of 
appearances ! In choosing an employment, it seems 
to me the only question to be asked is, What are we 
^est fitted for ? and What do we most enjoy doing ? 


Wayland, 1857. 
I have lately been much interested about the young 
Kentucky lady 1 who emancipated all her slaves, in 
consequence of reading Charles Sumner's speeches. 
She and I correspond, as mother and daughter, and 
I should infer from her letters, even if I knew noth- 
ing else about her, that she was endowed with a no- 
ble, generous, sincere, and enthusiastic nature. It is 
no slight sacrifice, at nineteen years old, to give up 
all one's property, and go forth into the world to earn 
her own living, penniless and friendless; "but I 
shall earn my living with alight heart, because I shall 
have a clean conscience.' ' I quote her own words, 

1 Miss Mattie Griffith. 


which she wrote in an hour of sadness, in consequence 
of being cut by friends, reproached by relations, and 
deluged with insulting letters from every part of the 
South. Her relatives resort to both coaxing and 
threatening, to induce her publicly to deny tha she 
wrote the " Autobiography of a Female Slave." The 
truthfulness of her nature fires up at this. In one of 
her letters to me she says, " What a mean thing they 
would make of me ! I '11 die first." She is true 
metal, and rings clear under their blows. Yet she 
has a loving, womanly heart, made desolate and sad 
by separation from early friends. We abolitionists 
ought to rally round the noble young martyr. I wish 
you had a chance to get acquainted with her. She 
struck me as quite a remarkable young person. 

More and more I become convinced that there is 
a natural difference in the organization of people. 
There is Mattie, brought up in a slave-holding com- 
munity, and under the influence of an intensely aris- 
tocratic family, yet, from her earliest years, sponta- 
neously giving all her sympathies to the poor. When 
she went to school, she was a great pet with a 
wealthy lady, a friend of her grandfather's. The 
lady hired a slave of the grandfather, and caused 
her to be whipped for some offence. Mattie heard 
of it, on her way from school, and rushed into the 
lady's house to pour forth her boiling indignation. 
She called her a " cruel monster," and told her that 
"the blue flames of hell were preparing for those 
who ti'eated poor people so ! " The lady tried to 
pacify her, and asked her to sit down and have some 
cake. " I don't want to sit down in your house ! " 
she exclaimed ; and off she went. The grandfather 
tried to make her apologize to the lady for her rude- 


ness. Finding persuasion useless, he kept her in the 
garret three days on bread and water. It was of 
no use, the child always had the same answer. " She 
is a cruel monster. It is the truth. I am not sorry 
I said it, and I can't say I am sorry." The grand- 
father's will gave up to the firmness of her conscien- 
tious convictions. M. never apologized. That early 
incident shows that she is of the stuff martyrs are 
made of. . . . 

I suppose you have heard what a glorious time 
Mattie had when she emancipated her slaves. They 
danced and sang and sobbed, and would have kissed 
her feet, had she permitted. Then they began to 
think of her, and insisted upon continuing to send 
their wages to her, because she was not strong enough 
to work. When she refused, they pleaded hard to 
send her half their earnings. She wrote to me about 
it, and added, " I assure you, dear Mrs. Child, there 
are very few people who know the real beauty of the 
African character." I believe it. 


"Wayland, 1857. 
I have seldom had such a day as the delightful one 
passed with you and David Wasson. I have marked 
it in my pilgrimage by a golden pillar, hung with 
amaranth garlands. I said he was poet, philosopher, 
and priest. During the evening that I subsequently 
spent with him I found he was also full of fun. I 
might have known it, indeed, by those eyes of his, 
that look out so smiling upon the world. It is many 
a day since I have met with such a real child of God 
and Nature. He will not be popular, of course ; for 

" Souls are dangerous things to carry straight 
Through all the spilt saltpetre of this world." 


As for " come-outerism," I assure you that if I could 
only find a church, I would nestle into it as gladly as 
a bird ever nestled into her covert in a storm. I 
have stayed away from meeting, because one offered 
me petrifactions, and another gas, when I was hungry 
for bread. I have an unfortunate sincerity, which 
demands living realities, and will not be put off with 
respectable shams. I sometimes wish it were other- 
wise ; there is such a plenty of respectable shams to 
be had without the seeking. Another thing that I 
really feel the want of is one or two sympathizing 
friends with a sufficient degree of culture to make 
intercourse easy and mutually agreeable. I am well 
aware that it is not good to live so much alone as I 
do ; but I see no help for it. Better to be forever 
alone than to have an indiscriminate inrush of the 
world into one's sanctum. I find the problem of use- 
ful and agreeable social intercourse a very hard one 
to solve. If our minister, Mr. Sears, were near by, I 
should scarcely feel the need of any other society ; 
for his mind and heart are full to overflowing. But 
unfortunately he lives two miles off, on an out-of-the- 
way road, and it is a job to get to him. He has 
lately been preaching a series of beautiful sermons on 
the immortality of the soul. The one last Sunday 
was on entering upon immortality through the long 
pathway of old age. It was excellent in itself, and 
interested me so much by its association with my 
good old father that I borrowed it, and made copious 
extracts. To me there is a peculiar charm in Mr. 
Sears' preaching ; for a kind of lunar-halo of Sweden- 
borgianism surrounds it. My first and deepest relig- 
ious experience came to me through that medium ; 
and such an experience is never entirely forgotten by 


the soul. The angel of my youth calls to me through 
Mr. Sears' preaching. Ah, would to God he could 
give me back the undoubting faith, the poetic rap- 
ture of spiritual insight, which I then enjoyed ! But 
it cannot be. That was a state of childhood ; and 
childhood will pass away. The intellect will call 
aloud to the Infinite, and it receives no answer but 
the echo of its own voice. If the problem of our ex- 
istence is not solved elsewhere, how cruel must be 
the Being that placed us here ! Meanwhile, nothing 
surprises me more than that men should judge so 
harshly of each other for believing, or not believing, 
since it is a thing obviously beyond our control. The 
man educated at Seville cannot see spiritual things 
in the same light that they are seen by the man edu- 
cated in Boston. At fifty years of age, it is out of 
our power to believe many things that we believed at 
twenty. Our states have changed by slow degrees, 
as the delicate blossom changes to the dry seed-vessel. 
We may weep for the lost blossom, but it avails not. 
" Violets dead the sweetest showers will ne'er make 
grow again." But, thanks to the Heavenly Father, 
in the dry seed-vessel lies the embryo of future flow- 


Watland, 1857. 
It is a dark, drizzling day, and I am going to make 
sunshine for myself by sitting down before the old 
fire-place and having a cos} r chat with you. Did you 

see Mr. H 's sermon, preached soon after his 

return from Palestine ? He thinks the truth of the 
Bible is proved by the fact that Jordan is still flow- 
ing and the Mount of Olives still standing. He says 
his faith was greatly strengthened by a sight of them 


By the same token he ought to consider Grecian 
mythology proved, because Olympus and Parnassus 
are still standing ; and a sight of them ought to 
strengthen his faith in Jupiter and the Muses. What 
a fuss they have made about rinding the name of 
Jonah among the inscriptions at Nineveh! Does 
that prove that the whale swallowed him, and that 
he did not " set easy " on the whale's stomach ? I 
can never get over wondering at the external tend- 
ency of a large class of minds. 


Wayland, December 10, 1857. 
I wanted very much to introduce to you a baby I 
met in the cars. She was a fat little thing, not two 
years old, but as quick as a steel-trap. She was on 
the opposite side of the cars, but insisted upon trying 
to stretch her short fat arm across to me, with her 
hand open, repeating, " How do ? " "I am pretty 
well," said I. " How do you do ? " " Mart " (smart), 
was her quick reply. And this scene she wanted to 
enact every five minutes, to the great amusement of 
those around her. At last a little boy came in, about 
a year older than herself, and w r as placed on the seat 
behind her. Feeling the necessity of keeping up the 
character of her sex for propriety, she took a good 
deal of trouble to get at him, and push him, saying, 
" You do 'way ! you do 'way ! " The boy, who seemed 
to be as timid as she was " mart," shrunk himself up 
as close as possible, probably having a prophetic 
sense of the position it becomes his sex to assume, if 
they regard their own safety, in these days when 
women are getting to be so " mart." At last he 
climbed the seat and turned his back to her. . . . 


She could not stand being taken no notice of. So she 
swung her little fat person over the back of her seat, 
to the imminent peril of falling, and began to poke 
at him, calling out, " Boy ! boy ! " He completely 
withdrew her attention from me. But I could n't 
help watching her, she was such a funny little im- 
personation of human nature. I fell to moralizing, 
thinking to myself what a cheerful world it would 
be if we all ignored ranks and sexes and sects and 
barriers of all sorts, and went about with open palm 
outstretched to everybody, saying, " How do ? " If 
we could only do that, the world's answer would 
always be, " Mart." 


Watland, 1 858. 

I was just about answering your welcome letter, 
when that overwhelming blow 1 came suddenly, and 
for a time seemed to crush all life and hope out of 
me. Nothing but the death of my kind husband 
could have caused me such bitter grief. Then came 
your precious letter of sympathy and condolence. I 
thanked you for it, from the depths of my suffering 
heart ; but I did not feel as if I could summon energy 
to write to any but the bereaved ones of his own 
household. You know that he was a valuable friend 
to me, but no one but myself could know how valu- 
able. For thirty years he has been my chief reli- 
ance. In moral perplexities I always went to him 
for counsel, and he never failed to clear away every 
cloud. In all worldly troubles I went to him, and 
always found a judicious adviser, a sympathizing 
friend, a generous helper. He was only two months 

1 Death of Ellis Gray Loring. 


younger than myself, but I had so long been accus- 
tomed to lean upon him, that the thought never oc- 
curred to me that it was possible that I might be 
left in the world without him. All my plans for 
old age were based upon him ; all my little property 
was in his hands ; and if I had ever so small a sum, 
even ten dollars, for which I had no immediate use, 
he put it on interest, though it were but for a* single 
month. But the loss in this point of view seems tri- 
fling compared to the desolation his death has made in 
my affections. If I could only hear his gentle voice 
again, I would be willing to throw all the dollars into 
the sea. Oh, this dreadful silence ! How heavily the 
dark veil drops down between us and that unknown 
world ! Whether it be the vividness of memory, or 
whether he is actually near me, I know not, — but I 
have the impression of the perpetual presence of his 
spirit with singular distinctness. The presence, be it 
real or imaginary, has the same influence over me 
that he always had while on earth. It soothes me, 
makes me feel calm and strong. I think your friend 
Samuel Johnson wrote the best hymn for the occasion 
I ever read. I mean the one he wrote for Mr. Long- 
fellow. Blessings be with you. 


Wayland, June 20, 1858. 
I was thankful to receive your kind letter. You 
say you hope we had some drops of rain here. Such 
a storm as we had I have seldom witnessed. The 
day after you went away, there came one of those 
dreadful hurricanes of wind, smashing my flowers 
and tearing everything, right and left. I was in 
hopes it would go clown with the sun, but it did not. 


Whenever I woke in the night I heard everything 
rocking and reeling. In the morning I went to look 
after the poor little sparrow in the rose-bush, whom I 
had seen the day before, shutting her eyes hard and 
sticking tight to her nest, which was tossed about like 
a ship in a heavy gale. I wanted much to help her, 
but could not. Next morning I found the nest nearly 
wrenched from the bush and two of the eggs on the 
ground. They were still warm, so I replaced them, 
righted the nest and fastened it to the twigs with 
strings. To my great surprise she returned to her 
patient labor of incubation. . . . 

Mrs. S. returned on Friday, and I went as far as 
Boston with her. The day was so intensely hot that 
I regretted having put my head into the city. But 
as I was toiling along I heard a voice behind me ex- 
claim, " Maria Child ! " I turned and recognized 
John G. Whittier. He said he had missed the cars 
by some mistake, but now he felt the disappointment 
was providential ; he had for a long time so wanted 
to see me. I could not bear to go into the office 
where I had been accustomed to take my friends. I 
knew the empty chair of that dear lost friend 1 would 
be too much for me. So I asked him into H.'s office, 
and there we chatted an hour. Mrs. S. regretted 
your absence, left kind remembrances for you, and 
told me I was " a happy woman to have a husband 
that wrote me such charming love letters." I told 
her I thought so too. 

1 Ellis Gray Loring. 



Wayland, August 8, 1858. 

I think you have done a vast amount of good in 
many ways. Your conversation always tends to en- 
large and liberalize the minds with which you come 
in contact ; more than a dozen times I have heard 
people speak of the good your sympathizing words 
have done them in times of affliction ; and for my- 
self, I can say most truly before God that I con- 
sider such intellectual culture as I have mainly attrib- 
utable to your influence ; and most sincerely can I 
say, moreover, that up to this present hour I prize a 
chance for communion with your mind more than I 
do with any other person I know. ... In a literary 
point of view, I know that I have only a local repu- 
tation, " done in water-colors." ... I am not what 
I aspired to be in my days of young ambition ; but 
I have become humble enough to be satisfied with the 
conviction that what I have written has alwavs been 
written conscientiously ; that I have always spoken 
with sincerity, if not with power. In every direction 
I see young giants rushing past me, at times pushing 
me somewhat rudely in their speed, but I am glad to 
see such strong laborers to plough the land and sow 
the seed for coming years. 


Wayland, 1858. 
There is compensation in all things. My igno- 
rance and my poverty both have their advantages. 
You can never take such child-like delight in a little 
picture, engraving, or statuette, as I do. Now, while 
I write, Beauty keeps drawing me away from my 


letter. I stop with my pen poised in air, to contem- 
plate my Galatea, my St. Cecilia, my Flying Hour of 
the Night, my palace in Venice, ray young Bacchus, 
my glowing nasturtium, and my vase of tremulous 
grass. Decidedly, there are many compensations for 
those who are poor, and have never seen the world. 

The landscape in front of the window is lovely. No 
sharp frost has come to blight the foliage, and the 
scenery is like a handsome woman of fifty, whom 
Time has touched so lightly that her girlish delicacy 
of beauty is merely deepened and warmed with a few 
autumnal tints. Thus gently may you glide into the 
frosted silver of a bright old age! It must be so, 
dearest, because so many are cheered by your heart 


Watland, January 16, 1859. 
I have buckled to Buckle's " History of Civili- 
zation," though I said I would not read it because I 
dreaded being made uncomfortable by the point of 
view from which he looks at things. This making 
moral progress depend entirely on intellectual prog- 
ress seems to turn things so inside out that it twists 
my poor brain. I care more that the world should 
grow better, than it should grow wiser. The exter- 
nal must be developed from the internal. It makes 
my head ache to look at human growth from any 
other point of view. That is the great mistake of 
Fourier. He is wise and great, and often prophetic, 
but he thinks to produce perfect men by surround- 
ing them with perfect circumstances ; whereas the 
perfect circumstances must be the result of per- 
fect men. How can the marriage relation, for in- 
stance, be well ordered, until men and women are 


more pure ? I have no sympathy with the doctrine 

" The body, not the soul, 
Governs the unfettered whole." 

Then I am tempted full strongly enough to believe 
Emerson's axiom, " We only row, we 're steered by 
Fate," without having Buckle write a bulky volume 
to convince me ; for when I think I am steered, I 
immediately become tired of rowing. But there is 
no help for it. I must read every word of Buckle. 
It seems to me the most remarkable book of the age ; 
bold, clear, strong, comprehensive, candid, and, above 
all, free. He pulls out all the linch-pins from the 
wheels of Juggernaut without any sign of hesitation. 
" Some think it will spoil the old cart ; and they pre- 
tend to say there are valuable things in it which may 
get hurt. Hope not — hope not." The fact is, I 
shall never be easy till you read it, and write me your 
opinion of it. It delights me, with none of the mod- 
ern affectations of style ; no resuscitated words, whose 
only merit is their obsoleteness ; no inverted sen- 
tences ; no parentheses within parentheses ; no clouds 
of language between the reader and the subject; no 
vague Orphic sayings, which may mean one thing, or 
another thing, or no thing. " Which things I hate," 
as saith the apostle. I get so vexed with writers 
that send me to the dictionary a dozen times an hour 
to decipher my own language ! It 's the fashion now- 
adays. I suppose it was in ancient times also, for 
doth not Aristophanes say, "I hate their peacock 
trains, their six-foot words, and swell of ostentation " ? 
None of this in Buckle. He is a full, deep river, 
showing clearly every pebble over which it flows. 
But I don't agree with all his statements. He says 


that moral truths were exactly the same as they are 
now ages ago ; that intellect is the sole cause of prog- 
ress. Now I have considerable to say on that sub- 
ject ; but I want to hear what you have to say. 
Perhaps the term he uses is more at fault than the 
idea he intends to convey. 


May 24, 1859. 
Again the 'trees are clothed in vernal green ; 
Again the waters flow in silvery sheen ; 
But all this beauty through a mist I see, 
For earth bloomed thus when thou wert lost to me. 

The flowers come back, the tuneful birds return, 
But thou for whom my spirit still doth yearn 
Art gone from me to spheres so bright and far, 
Thou seem'st the spirit of some distant star. 

for some telegram from thee, my friend ! 
Some whispered answer to the love I send ! 

Or one brief glance from those dear guileless eyes, 
That smiled to me so sweetly thy replies. 

My heart is hungry for thy gentle ways, 

Thy friendly counsels, and thy precious praise ; 

1 seem to travel through the dark alone, 
Since thou, my wisest, truest guide art gone. 

And yet at times so near thou art to me 
That each good thought seems still inspired by thee : 
I almost hear thee say, " Fear not, my friend, 
That friendship pure and loyal e'er can end." 

1 These verses of Mrs. Child, though written on the first anniver- 
sary of Mr. Loring's death, were not published till some years after, 
which accounts for the allusions to the extinction of slavery in Mr. 
Whittier's response. 


O keep me ever near thy holy sphere, 
O guide and help me as thou didst while here, 
For still I lean on thy pure, faithful heart, 
Angel or seraph, wheresoe'er thou art. 



The sweet spring day is glad with music, 
But through it sounds a sadder strain, 

The worthiest of our narrowing circle 
Sings Loring's dirges o'er again. 

woman greatly loved ! 1 join thee 
In tender memories of our friend ; 

With thee across the awful spaces, 
The greetiug of a soul I send. 

What cheer hath he ? How is it with him ? 

Where lingers he this weary while ? 
Over what pleasant fields of heaven 

Dawns the sweet sunshine of his smile ? 

Does he not know our feet are treading 
The earth hard down on Slavery's grave ? 

That in our crowning exultations 

We miss the charm his presence gave ? 

Why on this spring air comes no whisper 

From him to tell us all is well ? 
Why to our flower time comes no token 

Of lily and of asphodel ? 

1 feel the unutterable longing, 

Thy hunger of the heart is mine ; 
I reach and grasp for hands in darkness, 
My ear grows sharp for voice or sign. 


Still on the lips of all we question, 

The finger of God's silence lies ; 
Will the lost hands in ours be folded? 

Will the shut eyelids ever rise ? 

O friend, no proof beyond this yearning, 
This outreach of our hearts, we need ; 

God will not mock the hope he giveth, 
No love he prompts shall vainly plead. 

Then let us stretch our hands in darkness, 
And call our loved ones o'er and o'er ; 

Some day their arms shall close about us, 
And the old voices speak once more. 

No dreary splendors wait our coming 
Where rapt ghost sits from ghost apart ; 

Homeward we go to Heaven's thanksgiving, 
The harvest gathering of the heart. 



Wayland, Mass., October 26, 1859. 

Governor Wise, — I have heard that you were a 
man of chivalrous sentiments, and I know you were 
opposed to the iniquitous attempt to force upon Kan- 
sas a Constitution abhorrent to the moral sense of 
her people. Relying upon these indications of honor 
and justice in your character, I venture to ask a favor 
of you. Inclosed is a letter to Captain John Brown. 


Will you have the kindness, after reading it yourself, 
to transmit it to the prisoner ? 

I and all my large circle of abolition acquaintances 
were taken by surprise when news came of Captain 
Brown's recent attempt ; nor do I know of a single 
person who would have approved of it, had they been 
apprised of his intention. But I and thousands of 
others feel a natural impulse of sympathy for the 
brave and suffering man. Perhaps God, who sees 
the inmost of our souls, perceives some such senti- 
ment in your heart also. He needs a mother or 
sister to dress his wounds, and speak soothingly to 
him. Will you allow me to perforin that mission of 
humanity ? If you will, may God bless you for the 
generous deed ! 

I have been for years an uncompromising aboli- 
tionist, and I should scorn to deny it or apologize for 
it as much as John Brown himself would do. Be- 
lieving in peace principles, I deeply regret the step 
that the old veteran has taken, while I honor his 
humanity towards those who became his prisoners. 
But because it is my habit to be as open as the day- 
light, I will also say, that if I believed our religion 
justified men in fighting for freedom, I should con- 
sider the enslaved everywhere as best entitled to 
that right. Such an avowal is a simple, frank ex- 
pression of my sense of natural justice. 

But I should despise myself utterly if any circum- 
stances could tempt me to seek to advance these 
opinions in any way, directly or indirectly, after your 
permission to visit Virginia has been obtained on the 
plea of sisterly sympathy with a brave and suffering 
man. I give you my word of honor, which was never 
broken, that I would use such permission solely and 


singly for the purpose of nursing your prisoner, and 
for no other purpose whatsoever. 
Yours respectfully, 

L. Maria Child. 


Richmond, Va., October 29, 1859. 

Madam, — Yours of the 26th was received by me 
yesterday, and at ray earliest leisure I respectfully 
reply to it, that I will forward the letter for John 
Brown, a prisoner under our laws, arraigned at the 
Circuit Court for the county of Jefferson, at Charles- 
town, Va., for the crimes of murder, robbery, and 
treason, which you ask me to transmit to him. I 
will comply with your request in the only way which 
seems to me proper, by inclosing it to the Common- 
wealth's attorney, with the request that he will ask 
the permission of the court to hand it to the pris- 
oner. Brown, the prisoner, is now in the hands of 
the judiciary, not of the executive, of this Common- 

You ask me, further, to allow you to perform the 
mission " of mother or sister, to dress his wounds, 
and speak soothingly to him." By this, of course, 
you mean to be allowed to visit him in his cell, and 
to minister to him in the offices of humanity. Why 
should you not be so allowed, Madam ? Virginia and 
Massachusetts are involved in no civil war, and the 
Constitution which unites them in one confederacy 
guaranties to you the privileges and immunities of a 
citizen of the United States in the State of Virginia. 
That Constitution I am sworn to support, and am, 
therefore, bound to protect your privileges and im- 
munities as a citizen of Massachusetts coming into 
Virginia for any lawful and peaceful purpose. 


Coming, as you propose, to minister to the captive 
in prison, yon will be met, doubtless, by all our peo- 
ple, not only in a chivalrous, but in a Christian spirit. 
You have the right to visit Charlestown, Va., 
Madam ; and your mission, being merciful and hu- 
mane, will not only be allowed, but respected, if not 
welcomed. A few unenlightened and inconsiderate 
persons, fanatical in their modes of thought and ac- 
tion to maintain justice and right, might molest you, 
or be disposed to do so ; and this might suggest the 
imprudence of risking any experiment upon the peace 
of a society very much excited by the crimes with 
whose chief author you seem to sympathize so much. 
But still, I repeat, your motives and avowed purpose 
are lawful and peaceful, and I will, as far as I am 
concerned, do my duty in protecting your rights in 
our limits. Virginia and her authorities would be 
weak indeed — weak in point of folly, and weak in 
point of power — if her State faith and constitutional 
obligations cannot be redeemed in her own limits to 
the letter of morality as well as of law ; and if her 
chivalry cannot courteously receive a lady's visit to a 
prisoner, every arm which guards Brown from rescue 
on the one hand, and from lynch law on the other, 
will be ready to guard your person in Virginia. 

I could not permit an insult even to woman in her 
walk of charity among us, though it be to one who 
whetted knives of butchery for our mothers, sisters, 
daughters, and babes. We have no sympathy with 
your sentiments of sympathy with Brown, and are 
surprised that you were " taken by surprise when 
news came of Captain Brown's recent attempt." His 
attempt was a natural consequence of your sympathy, 
and the errors of that sympathy ought to make you 


doubt its virtue from the effect on his conduct. But 
it is not of this I should speak. When you arrive at 
Charlestown, if you go there, it will be for the court 
and its officers, the Commonwealth's attorney, sheriff 
and jailer, to say whether you may see and wait on 
the prisoner. But, whether you are thus permitted 
or not (and you will be, if my advice can prevail), 
you may rest assured that he will be humanely, law- 
fully, and mercifully dealt by in prison and on trial. 
Respectfully, Henry A. Wise. 


In your civil but very diplomatic reply to my let- 
ter, you inform me that I have a constitutional right 
to visit Virginia, for peaceful purposes, in common 
with every citizen of the United States. I was per- 
fectly well aware that such was the theory of consti- 
tutional obligation in the slave States ; but I was 
also aware of what you omit to mention, viz. : that 
the Constitution has, in reality, been completely and 
systematically nullified, whenever it suited the con- 
venience or the policy of the slave power. Your con- 
stitutional obligation, for which you profess so much 
respect, has never proved any protection to citizens 
of the free States who happened to have a black, 
brown, or yellow complexion ; nor to any white citi- 
zen whom you even suspected of entertaining opin- 
ions opposite to your own, on a question of vast im- 
portance to the temporal welfare and moral example 
of our common country. This total disregard of 
constitutional obligation has been manifested not 
merely by the lynch law of mobs in the slave 
States, but by the deliberate action of magistrates 
and legislators. What regard was paid to constitu- 


tional obligation in South Carolina, when Massachu- 
setts sent the Hon. Mr. Hoar there as an envoy, on a 
purely legal errand ? Mr. Hedrick, Professor of Po- 
litical Economy in the University of North Carolina, 
had a constitutional right to reside in that State. 
What regard was paid to that right, when he was 
driven from his home merely for declaring that he 
considered slavery an impolitic system, injurious to 
the prosperity of States ? What respect for constitu- 
tional rights was manifested by Alabama, when a 
bookseller in Mobile was compelled to flee for his life, 
because he had, at the special request of some of the 
citizens, imported a few copies of a novel that every- 
body was curious to read ? Your own citizen, Mr. 
Underwood, had a constitutional right to live in Vir- 
ginia and vote for whomsoever he pleased. What 
regard was paid to his rights, when he was driven 
from your State for declaring himself in favor of the 
election of Fremont? With these and a multitude 
of other examples before your eyes, it would seem as 
if the less that was said about respect for constitu- 
tional obligations at the South, the better. Slavery 
is, in fact, an infringement of all law, and adheres to 
no law, save for its own purposes of oppression. 

You accuse Captain John Brown of " whetting 
knives of butchery for the mothers, sisters, daughters, 
and babes " of Virginia ; and you inform me of the 
well-known fact, that he is " arraigned for the crimes 
of murder, robbery, and treason." I will not here stop 
to explain why I believe that old hero to be no crim- 
inal, but a martyr to righteous principles which he 
sought to advance by methods sanctioned by his own 
religious views, though not by mine. Allowing that 
Captain Brown did attempt a scheme in which mur- 


der, robbery, and treason were, to his own conscious- 
ness, involved, I do not see how Governor Wise can 
consistently arraign him for crimes he has himself 
commended. You have threatened to trample on the 
Constitution, and break the Union, if a majority of 
the legal voters in these confederated States dared to 
elect a President unfavorable to the extension of slav- 
ery. Is not such a declaration proof of premeditated 
treason? In the spring of 1842 you made a speech 
in Congress, from which I copy the following : — 

" Once set before the people of the great valley the con- 
quest of the rich Mexican provinces, and you might as well 
attempt to stop the wind. This government might send its 
troops, but they would run over them like a herd of buffalo. 
Let the work once begin, and I do not know that this House 
would hold me very long. Give me five millions of dollars, 
and I would undertake to do it myself. Although I do not 
know how to set a single squadron in the field, I could find 
men to do it. Slavery should pour itself abroad, without 
restraint, and find no limit but the southern ocean. The 
Camanches should no longer hold the richest mines of Mex- 
ico. Every golden image which had received the profana- 
tion of a false worship should soon be melted down into 
good American eagles. I would cause as much gold to 
cross the Rio del Norte as the mules of Mexico could carry ; 
aye, and I would make better use of it, too, than any lazy, 
bigoted priesthood under heaven." 

When you thus boosted that you and your " booted 
loafers " would overrun the troops of the United 
States "like a herd of buffalo," if the government 
sent them to arrest your invasion of a neighboring 
nation, at peace with the United States, did you not 
pledge yourself to commit treason ? Was it not by 
robbery, even of churches, that you proposed to load 


the mules of Mexico with gold for the United States ? 
Was it not by the murder of unoffending Mexicans 
that you expected to advance those schemes of avarice 
and ambition ? What humanity had you for Mexican 
" mothers and babes," whom you proposed to make 
childless and fatherless ? And for what purpose was 
this wholesale massacre to take place ? Not to right 
the wrongs of any oppressed class ; not to sustain any 
great principles of justice, or of freedom ; but merely 
to enable " slavery to pour itself forth without re- 

Even if Captain Brown were as bad as you paint 
him, I should suppose he must naturally remind you 
of the words of Macbeth : — 

" We but teach 
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return 
To plague the inventor : this even-handed justice 
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice 
To our own lips." 

If Captain Brown intended, as you say, to commit 
treason, robbery, and murder, I think I have shown 
that he could find ample authority for such proceedings 
in the public declarations of Governor Wise. And 
if, as he himself declares, he merely intended to free 
the oppressed, where could he read a more forcible 
lesson than is furnished by the state seal of Virginia ? 
I looked at it thoughtfully before I opened your let- 
ter ; and though it had always appeared to me very 
suggestive, it never seemed to me so much so as it 
now did in connection with Captain John Brown. A 
liberty-loving hero stands with his foot upon a pros- 
trate despot ; under his strong arm, manacles and 
chains lie broken ; and the motto is, " Sic Semper 
Tyrannis ; " " Thus be it ever done to tyrants." And 


this is the blazon of a State whose most profitable 
business is the internal slave-trade ! — in whose high- 
ways coffles of human chattels, chained and manacled, 
are frequently seen ! And the seal and the coffles are 
both looked upon by other chattels, constantly exposed 
to the same fate ! What if some Vezey, or Nat Tur- 
ner, should be growing up among those apparently 
quiet spectators ? It is in no spirit of taunt or of 
exultation that I ask this question. I never think of 
it but with anxiety, sadness, and sympathy. I know 
that a slave-holding community necessarily lives in 
the midst of gunpowder ; and, in this age, sparks of 
free thought are flying in every direction. You can- 
not quench the fires of free thought and human sym- 
pathy by any process of cunning or force ; but there 
is a method by which you can effectually wet the gun- 
powder. England has already tried it, with safety 
and success. Would that you could be persuaded to 
set aside the prejudices of education, and candidly ex- 
amine the actual working of that experiment ! Vir- 
ginia is so richly endowed by nature that free insti- 
tutions alone are wanting to render her the most 
prosperous and powerful of the States. 

In your letter you suggest that such a scheme as 
Captain Brown's is the natural result of the opinions 
with which I sympathize. Even if I thought this to 
be a correct statement, though I should deeply regret 
it, I could not draw the conclusion that humanity 
ought to be stifled, and truth struck dumb, for fear 
that long-successful despotism might be endangered 
by their utterance. But the fact is, you mistake the 
source of that strange outbreak. No abolition argu- 
ments or denunciations, however earnest^, loudly, or 
harshly proclaimed, would have produced that result. 


It was the legitimate consequence of the continual 
and constantly-increasing aggressions of the slave 
power. The slave States, in their desperate efforts 
to sustain a bad and dangerous institution, have en- 
croached more and more upon the liberties of the 
free States. Our inherent love of law and order, 
and our superstitious attachment to the Union, you 
have mistaken for cowardice ; and rarely have you 
let slip any opportunity to add insult to aggression. 

The manifested opposition to slavery began with 
the lectures and pamphlets of a few disinterested 
men and women, who based their movements upon 
purely moral and religious grounds ; but their expos- 
tulations were met with a storm of rage, with tar 
and feathers, brickbats, demolished houses, and other 
applications of lynch law. When the dust of the 
conflict began to subside a little, their numbers were 
found to be greatly increased by the efforts to exter- 
minate them. They had become an influence in the 
State too important to be overlooked by shrewd cal- 
culators. Political economists began to look at the 
subject from a lower point of view. They used their 
abilities to demonstrate that slavery was a wasteful 
system, and that the free States were taxed to an 
enormous extent to sustain an institution which, at 
heart, two thirds of them abhorred. The forty mill- 
ions, or more, of dollars expended in hunting fugitive 
slaves in Florida, under the name of the Seminole 
War, were adduced, as one item of proof, to which 
many more were added. At last politicians were 
compelled to take some action on the subject. It 
soon became known to all the people that the slave 
States had always managed to hold in their hands 
the political power of the Union, and that while they 


constituted only one third of the white population of 
these States, they held more than two thirds of all 
the lucrative, and once honorable, offices ; an indig- 
nity to which none but a subjugated people had ever 
before submitted. The knowledge also became gen- 
erally diffused that, while the Southern States owned 
their Democracy at home, and voted for them, they 
also systematically bribed the nominally Democratic 
party at the North with the offices adroitly kept at 
their disposal. 

Through these and other instrumentalities, the 
sentiments of the original Garrisonian abolitionists 
became very widely extended, in forms more or less 
diluted. But by far the most efficient co-laborers we 
have ever had have been the slave States themselves. 
By denying us the sacred right of petition, they 
roused the free spirit of the North as it never could 
have been roused by the loud trumpet of Garrison or 
the soul-animating bugle of Phillips. They bought 
the great slave, Daniel, and, according to their estab- 
lished usage, paid him no wages for his labor. By 
his cooperation they forced the Fugitive Slave Law 
upon us in violation of all our humane instincts and 
all our principles of justice. And what did they pro- 
cure for the abolitionists by that despotic process ? 
A deeper and wider detestation of slavery through- 
out the free States, and the publication of " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin," an eloquent outburst of moral indig- 
nation, whose echoes wakened the world to look upon 
their shame. 

By filibustering and fraud they dismembered Mex- 
ico, and, having thus obtained the soil of Texas, 
they tried to introduce it as a slave State into the 
Union. Failing to effect their purpose by constitu- 


tional means, they accomplished it by a most open 
and palpable violation of the Constitution, and by 
obtaining the votes of senators on false pretenses. 1 

Soon afterward a Southern slave administration 
ceded to the powerful monarchy of Great Britain 
several hundred thousands of square miles that must 
have been made into free States, to which that same 
administration had declared that the United States 
had u an unquestionable right;" and then they turned 
upon the weak republic of Mexico, and, in order to 
make more slave States, wrested from her twice as 
many hundred thousands of square miles, to which 
we had not a shadow of right. 

Notwithstanding all these extra efforts, they saw 
symptoms that the political power so long held with 
a firm grasp was in danger of slipping from their 
hands, by reason of the extension of abolition senti- 
ments, and the greater prosperity of free States. 
Emboldened by continual success in aggression, they 
made use of the pretence of " squatter sovereignty " 
to break the league into which they had formerly 
cajoled the servile representatives of our blinded peo- 
ple, by which all the territory of the United States 
south of 36° 30' was guarantied to slavery, and all 
north of it to freedom. Thus Kansas became the 
battle-ground of the antagonistic elements in our 
government. Ruffians hired by the slave power 
were sent thither temporarily to do the voting and 
drive from the polls the legal voters, who were often 
murdered in the process. Names copied from the 

1 The following senators, Mr. Niles of Connecticut, Mr. Dix of 
New York, and Mr. Tappan of Ohio, published statements that their 
votes had been obtained by false representations ; and they declared 
that the case was the same with Mr. Heywood of North Carolina. 


directories of cities in other States were returned by- 
thousands as legal voters in Kansas, in order to estab- 
lish a Constitution abhorred by the people. This 
was their exemplification of squatter sovereignty. A 
Massachusetts senator, distinguished for candor, cour- 
tesy, and stainless integrity, was half murdered by 
slave-holders merely for having the manliness to state 
these facts to the assembled Congress of the nation. 
Peaceful emigrants from the North, who went to 
Kansas for no other purpose than to till the soil, 
erect mills, and establish manufactories, schools, and 
churches, were robbed, outraged, and murdered. For 
many months a war more ferocious than the warfare 
of wild Indians was carried on against a people al- 
most unresisting, because they relied upon the central 
government for aid. And all this while the power 
of the United States, wielded by the slave oligarchy, 
was on the side of the aggressors. This was the state 
of things when the hero of Ossawatomie and his brave 
sons went to the rescue. It was he who first turned 
the tide of border-ruffian triumph, by showing them 
that blows were to be taken as well as given. 

You may believe it or not, Governor Wise, but it 
is certainly the truth that, because slave-holders so 
recklessly sowed the wind in Kansas, they reaped a 
whirlwind at Harper's Ferry. 

The people of the North had a very strong attach- 
ment to the Union ; but by your desperate measures 
you have weakened it beyond all power of restora- 
tion. They are not your enemies, as you suppose, 
but they cannot consent to be your tools for any igno- 
ble task you may choose to propose. You must not 
judge of us by the crawling sinuosities of an Everett; 
or by our magnificent hound, whom you trained to 


hunt your poor cripples, 1 and then sent him sneaking 
into a corner to die — not with shame for the base 
purposes to which his strength had been applied, but 
with vexation because you withheld from him the 
promised bone. Not by such as these must you judge 
the free, enlightened yeomanry of New England. A 
majority of them would rejoice to have the slave 
States fulfil their oft-repeated threat of withdrawal 
from the Union. It has ceased to be a bugbear, for 
we begin to despair of being able, by any other proc- 
ess, to give the world the example of a real republic. 
The moral sense of these States is outraged by being 
accomplices in sustaining an institution vicious in all 
its aspects ; and it is now generally understood that 
we purchase our disgrace at great pecuniary expense. 
If you would only make the offer of a separation in 
serious earnest, you would hear the hearty response 
of millions, " Go, gentlemen, and 

' Stand not upon the order of your going, 
But go at once ! ' " 

Yours, with all due respect, 

L. Maria Child. 


To the Editor of the New York Tribune : 

Sir, — I was much surprised to see my correspond- 
ence with Governor Wise published in your columns. 
As I have never given any person a copy, I presume 
you must have obtained it from Virginia. My pro- 
posal to go and nurse that brave and generous old 
man, who so willingly gives his life a sacrifice for 
God's oppressed poor, originated in a very simple 
1 Alluding to Daniel Webster and the Fugitive Slave Law. 

LETTERS. ' 117 

and unmeritorious impulse of kindness. I heard his 
friends inquiring, " Has he no wife, or sister, that can 
go to nurse him ? We are trying to ascertain, for he 
needs some one." My niece said she would go at 
once, if her health were strong enough to be trusted. 
I replied that my age and state of health rendered 
me a more suitable person to go, and that I would 
go most gladly. I accordingly wrote to Captain 
Brown, and inclosed the letter to Governor Wise. 
My intention was to slip away quietly, without hav- 
ing the affair made public. I packed my trunk and 
collected a quantity of old linen for lint, and awaited 
tidings from Virginia. When Governor Wise an- 
swered, he suggested the " imprudence of trying any 
experiment upon the peace of a society already 
greatly excited," etc. My husband and I took coun- 
sel together, and we both concluded that, as the no- 
ble old veteran was said to be fast recovering from his 
wounds, and as my presence might create a popular 
excitement unfavorable to such chance as the prisoner 
had for a fair trial, I had better wait until I received 
a reply from Captain Brown himself. Fearing to do 
him more harm than good by following my impulse, 
I waited for his own sanction. Meanwhile, his wife, 
said to be a brave-hearted Roman matron, worthy of 
such a mate, has gone to him, and I have received 
the following reply. 

Respectfully yours, 

L. Maria Child. 

Boston, November 10, 1859. 



Wayland [Mass.], October 26, 1859. 

Dear Captain Brown : Though personally un- 
known to you, you will recognize in my name an 
earnest friend of Kansas, when circumstances made 
that Territory the battle-ground between the antag- 
onistic principles of slavery and freedom, which pol- 
iticians so vainly strive to reconcile in the government 
of the United States. 

Believing in peace principles, I cannot sympathize 
with the method you chose to advance the cause of 
freedom. But I honor your generous intentions, — I 
admire your courage, moral and physical. I reverence 
you for the humanity which tempered your zeal. I 
sympathize with you in your cruel bereavement, your 
sufferings, and your wrongs. In brief, I love you and 
bless you. 

Thousands of hearts are throbbing with sympathy 
as warm as mine. I think of you night and day, 
bleeding in prison, surrounded by hostile faces, sus- 
tained only by trust in God and your own strong 
heart. I long to nurse you — to speak to you sisterly 
words of sympathy and consolation. I have asked 
permission of Governor Wise to do so. If the re- 
quest is not granted, I cherish the hope that these 
few words may at least reach your hands, and afford 
you some little solace. May you be strengthened by 
the conviction that no honest man ever sheds blood 
for freedom in vain, however much he may be mis- 
taken in his efforts. May God sustain you, and 
carry you through whatsoever may be in store for 
you ! Yours, with heartfelt respect, sympathy and 
affection, L. Maria Child. 



Mrs. L. Maria Child : 

My Dear Friend, — Such you prove to be, 
though a stranger, — your most kind letter has 
reached me, with the kind offer to come here and 
take care of me. Allow me to express my gratitude 
for your great sympathy, and at the same time to 
propose to you a different course, together with my 
reasons for wishing it. I should certainly be greatly 
pleased to become personally acquainted with one so 
gifted and so kind, but I cannot avoid seeing some 
objections to it, under present circumstances. First, 
I am in charge of a most humane gentleman, who, 
with his family, has rendered me every possible at- 
tention I have desired, or that could be of the least 
advantage ; and I am so recovered of my wounds as 
no longer to require nursing. Then, again, it would 
subject you to great personal inconvenience and 
heavy expense, without doing me any good. Allow 
me to name to you another channel through which 
you may reach me with your sympathies much more 
effectually. I have at home a wife and three young 
daughters, the youngest but little over five years old, 
the oldest nearly sixteen. I have also two daughters- 
in-law, whose husbands have both fallen near me 
here. There is also another widow, Mrs. Thompson, 
whose husband fell here. Whether she is a mother 
or not, I cannot say. All these, my wife included, 
live at North Elba, Essex county, New York. I 
have a middle-aged son, who has been, in some de- 
gree, a cripple from his childhood, who would have 
as much as he could well do to earn a living. He 
was a most dreadful sufferer in Kansas, and lost all 


he had laid up. He has not enough to clothe himself 
for the winter comfortably. I have no living son, or 
son-in-law, who did not suffer terribly in Kansas. 

Now, dear friend, would you not as soon contribute 
fifty cents now, and a like sum yearly, for the relief 
of those very poor and deeply afflicted persons, to 
enable them to supply themselves and their children 
with bread and very plain clothing, and to enable the 
children to receive a common English education ? 
Will you also devote your own energies to induce 
others to join you in giving a like amount, or any 
other amount, to constitute a little fund for the pur- 
pose named ? 

I cannot see how your coming here can do me the 
least good ; and I am quite certain you can do im- 
mense good where you are. I am quite cheerful 
under all my afflicting circumstances and prospects ; 
having, as I humbly trust, " the peace of God which 
passeth all understanding " to rule in my heart. 
You may make such use of this as you see fit. God 
Almighty bless and reward you a thousand fold ! 
Yours in sincerity and truth, 

John Brown. 


Alto, King George's Co., Va., November 11, 1859. 
Do you read your Bible, Mrs. Child? If you do, 
read there, " Woe unto you, hypocrites," and take to 
yourself with twofold damnation that terrible sen- 
tence ; for, rest assured, in the day of judgment it 
shall be more tolerable for those thus scathed by the 
awful denunciation of the Son of God, than for you. 
You would soothe with sisterly and motherly care 
the hoary-headed murderer of Harper's Ferry ! A 


man whose aim and intention was to incite the hor- 
rors of a servile war — to condemn women of your 
own race, ere death closed their eyes on their suffer- 
ings from violence and outrage, to see their husbands 
and fathers murdered, their children butchered, the 
ground strewed with the brains of their babes. The 
antecedents of Brown's band proved them to have 
been the offscourings of the earth ; and what would 
have been our fate had they found as many sympa- 
thizers in Virginia as they seem to have in Massa- 
chusetts ? 

Now, compare yourself with those your " sym- 
pathy " would devote to such ruthless ruin, and say, 
on that " word of honor, which never has been 
broken," would you stand by the bedside of an old 
negro, dying of a hopeless disease, to alleviate his 
suffering as far as human aid could ? Have you ever 
watched the last, lingering illness of a consumptive, 
to soothe, as far as in you lay, the inevitable fate? 
Do you soften the pangs of maternity in those around 
you by all the care and comfort you can give ? Do 
you grieve with those near you, even though their 
sorrows resulted from their own misconduct ? Did 
you ever sit up until the " wee hours " to complete a 
dress for a motherless child, that she might appear 
on Christmas Day in a new one, along with her more 
fortunate companions ? We do these and more for 
our servants, and why ? Because we endeavor to do 
our duty in that state of life it has pleased God to 
place us. In his revealed word we read our duties to 
them — theirs to us are there also — " Not only to the 
good and gentle, but also to the fro ward." (1 Peter ii. 
18.) Go thou and do likewise, and keep away from 
Charlestown. If the stories read in the public prints 


be true, of the sufferings of the poor of the North, 
you need not go far for objects of charity. " Thou 
hypocrite ! take first the beam out of thine own eye, 
then shalt thou see clearly to pull the mote out of 
thy neighbor's." But if, indeed, you do lack objects 
of sympathy near you, go to Jefferson County, to the 
family of George Turner, a noble, true-hearted man, 
whose devotion to his friend (Colonel Washington) 
causing him to risk his life, was shot down like a 
dog. Or to that of old Beckham, whose grief at the 
murder of his negro subordinate made him needlessly 
expose himself to the aim of the assassin Brown. 
And when you can equal in deeds of love and charity 
to those around you, what is shown by nine tenths of 
the Virginia plantations, then by your " sympathy " 
whet the knives for our throats, and kindle the torch 
that fires our homes. You reverence Brown for his 
clemency to his prisoners ! Prisoners ! and how taken ? 
Unsuspecting workmen, going to their daily duties; 
unarmed gentlemen, taken from their beds at the 
dead hour of the night, by six men doubly and trebly 
armed. Suppose he had hurt a hair of their heads, 
do you suppose one of the band of desperadoes would 
have left the engine-house alive? And did he not 
know that his treatment of them was his only hope 
of life then, or of clemency afterward ? Of course he 
did. The United States troops could not have pre- 
vented him from being torn limb from limb. 

I will add, in conclusion, no Southerner ought, after 
your letter to Governor Wise and to Brown, to read 
a line of your composition, or to touch a magazine 
which bears your name in its lists of contributors ; 
and in this we hope for the " sympathy " at least of 
those at the North who deserve the name of woman. 

M. J. C. Mason. 



Wayland [Mass.], December 17, 1859. 

Prolonged absence from home has prevented my 
answering your letter so soon as I intended. I have 
no disposition to retort upon you the " twofold dam- 
nation " to which you consign me. On the contrary, 
I sincerely wish you well, both in this world and the 
next. If the anathema proved a safety valve to your 
own boiling spirit, it did some good to you, while it 
fell harmless upon me. Fortunately for all of us, the 
Heavenly Father rules his universe by laws, which 
the passions or the prejudices of mortals have no 
power to change. 

As for John Brown, his reputation may be safely 
trusted to the impartial pen of history ; and his mo- 
tives will be righteously judged by him who knoweth 
the secrets of all hearts. Men, however great they 
may be, are of small consequence in comparison with 
principles ; and the principle for which John Brown 
died is the question at issue between us. 

You refer me to the Bible, from which you quote 
the favorite text of slave-holders : — 

" Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear ; not 
only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." — 1 
Peter ii. 18. 

Abolitionists also have favorite texts, to some of 
which I would call your attention : — 

" Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them. 
— Heb. xiii. 3. 

" Hide the outcasts ; bewray not him that wandereth, 
Let mine outcasts dwell with thee. Be thou a covert to 
them from the face of the spoiler." — Isa. xvi. 3, 4. 

" Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which 


is escaped from his master unto thee : he shall dwell with 
thee . . . where it liketh him best : thou shalt not oppress 
him." — Deut. xxiii. 15. 16. 

' Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such 
as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge 
righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy." — 
Prov. xxxi. 8, 9. 

" Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, 
and show my people their transgression, and the house of 
Jacob their sins." — Isa. lviii. 1. 

I would especially commend to slave-holders the 
following portions of that volume wherein you say 
God has revealed the duty of masters : — 

" Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and 
equal ; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." — 
Col. iv. 1. 

" Neither be ye called masters : for one is your Master, 
even Christ ; and all ye are brethren." — Matt, xxiii. 10. 

" Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye 
even so to them." — Matt. vii. 12. 

"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the 
bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let 
the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" — 
Isa. lviii. 6. 

They " have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for 
wine, that they might drink." — Joel iii. 3. 

" He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker." 
— Prov. xiv. 31. 

" Rob not the poor, because he is poor : neither oppress 
the afflicted. For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil 
the soul of those who spoiled them." — Prov. xxii. 22, 23. 

" Woe unto him . . . that useth his neighbor's service 
without wages, and giveth him not for his work." — Jer. 
xxii. 13. 

" Let him that stole, steal no more : but rather let him 
labor, working with his hands." — Eph. iv. 28. 


" Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and 
that write grievousness which they have prescribed ; to 
turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the 
right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their 
prey, and that they may rob the fatherless ! " — Isa. x. 1,2. 

1,1 If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or of my 
maid-servant, when they contend with me ; what then shall 
I do when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth, what shall 
I answer him ?" — Job xxxi. 13, 14. 

" Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of 
the fatherless have been broken. Therefore snares are 
.round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee; or dark- 
ness, that thou canst not see." — Job xxii. 9-11. 

" Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down 
your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth ; and 
the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the 
ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on 
the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, 
as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed 
the just." — James v. 4. 

If the appropriateness of these texts is not appar- 
ent, I will try to make it so, by evidence drawn 
entirely from Southern sources. The abolitionists 
are not such an ignorant set of fanatics as you sup- 
pose. They hiotv whereof they affirm. They are 
familiar with the laws of the slave States, which are 
alone sufficient to inspire abhorrence in any humane 
heart or reflecting mind not perverted by the preju- 
dices of education and custom. I might fill many 
letters with significant extracts from your statute 
books ; but I have space only to glance at a few, 
which indicate the leading features of the system you 
cherish so tenaciously. 

The universal rule of the slave State is, that " the 
child follows the condition of its mother" This is 


an index to many things. Marriages between white 
and colored people are forbidden by law ; yet a very 
large number of the slaves are brown or yellow. 
When Lafayette visited this country in his old age, 
he said he was very much struck by the great change 
in the colored population of Virginia ; that in the 
time of the Revolution nearly all the household slaves 
were black, but when he returned to America, he 
found very few of them black. The advertisements 
in Southern newspapers often describe runaway slaves 
that " pass themselves for white men." Sometimes 
they are described as having " straight, light hair, 
blue eyes, and clear complexion." This could not be, 
unless their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grand- 
fathers had been white men. But as their mothers 
were slaves, the law pronounces them slaves, subject 
to be sold on the auction-block whenever the necessi- 
ties or convenience of their masters or mistresses re- 
quire it. The sale of one's own children, brothers, 
or sisters, has an ugly aspect to those who are un- 
accustomed to it ; and, obviously, it cannot have a 
good moral influence, that law and custom should 
render licentiousness a profitable vice. 

Throughout the slave States, the testimony of no 
colored person, bond or free, can be received against 
a white man. You have some laws, which, on the 
face of them, would seem to restrain inhuman men 
from murdering or mutilating slaves ; but they are 
rendered nearly null by the law I have cited. Any 
drunken master, overseer, or patrol may go into the 
negro cabins, and commit what outrages he pleases, 
with perfect impunity, if no white person is present 
who chooses to witness against him. North Carolina 
and Georgia leave a large loop-hole for escape, even if 


white persons are present, when murder is committed. 
A law to punish persons for " maliciously killing a 
slave" has this remarkable qualification: "Always 
provided that this act shall not extend to any slave 
dying of moderate correction. " We at the North find 
it difficult to understand how moderate punishment 
can cause death. I have read several of your law 
books attentively, and I find no cases of punishment 
for the murder of a slave, except by fines paid to the 
owner, to indemnify him for the loss of his property : 
the same as if his horse or cow had been killed. In 
the South Carolina Reports is a case where the State 
had indicted Guy Raines for the murder of a slave 
named Isaac. It was proved that William Gray, the 
owner of Isaac, had given him a thousand lashes. The 
poor creature made his escape, but was caught, and de- 
livered to the custody of Raines, to be carried to the 
county jail. Because he refused to go, Raines gave 
him five hundred lashes, and he died soon after. The 
counsel for Raines proposed that he should be allowed 
to acquit himself by his own oath. The court de- 
cided against it, because white witnesses had testified ; 
but the Court of Appeals afterward decided he ought 
to have been exculpated by his own oath, and he was 
acquitted. Small indeed is the chance for justice to 
a slave, when his own color are not allowed to testify, 
if they see him maimed or his children murdered; 
when he has slave-holders for judges and jurors; 
when the murderer can exculpate himself by his 
own oath ; and when the law provides that it is no 
murder to kill a slave by " moderate correction ! " 

Your laws uniformly declare that " a slave shall 
be deemed a chattel personal in the hands of his 
owner, to all intents, constructions, and purposes 

128 . LETTERS. 

whatsoever." This, of course, involves the right to 
sell his children, as if they were pigs ; also, to take 
his wife from him " for any intent or purpose what- 
soever." Your laws also make it death for him to 
resist a white man, however brutally he may be 
treated, or however much his family may be outraged 
before his eyes. If he attempts to run away, your 
laws allow any man to shoot him. 

By your laws, all a slave's earnings belong to his 
master. He can neither receive donations nor trans- 
mit property. If his master allows him some hours 
to work for himself, and by great energy and per- 
severance he earns enough to buy his own bones and 
sinews, his master may make him pay two or three 
times over, and he has no redress. Three such cases 
have come within my own knowledge. Even a writ- 
ten promise from his master has no legal value, be- 
cause a slave can make no contracts. 

Your laws also systematically aim at keeping the 
minds of the colored people in the most abject state 
of ignorance. If white people attempt to teach them 
to read or write, they are punished by imprisonment 
or fines ; if they attempt to teach each other, they 
are punished with from twenty to thirty-nine lashes 
each. It cannot be said that the anti-slavery agita- 
tion produced such laws, for they date much farther 
back ; many of them when we were Provinces. They 
are the necessities of the system, which, being itself 
an outrage upon human nature, can be sustained 
only by perpetual outrages. 

The next reliable source of information is the adver- 
tisements in the Southern papers. In the North Caro- 
lina (Raleigh) " Standard," Mr. Micajah Ricks adver- 
tises, " Runaway, a negro woman and two children. 


A few days before she went off, I burned her with 
a hot iron on the left side of her face. I tried to 
make the letter M." In the Natchez " Courier," Mr. 
J. P. Ashford advertises a runaway negro girl, with " a 
good many teeth missing, and the letter A branded 
on her cheek and forehead." In the Lexington (Ky.) 
" Observer," Mr. William Overstreet advertises a run- 
away negro with " his left eye out, scars from a dirk 
on his left arm, and much scarred with the whip." 
I might quote from hundreds of such advertisements, 
offering rewards for runaways, " dead or alive," and 
describing them with " ears cut off," " jaws broken," 
" scarred by rifle-balls," etc. 

Another source of information is afforded by your 
" fugitives from injustice," with many of whom I 
have conversed freely. I have seen scars of the whip 
and marks of the branding-iron, and I have listened 
to their heart-breaking sobs, while they told of 
" piccaninnies " torn from their arms and sold. 

Another source of information is furnished by eman- 
cipated slave-holders. Sarah M. Grimke', daughter 
of the late Judge Grimke, of the Supreme Court of 
South Carolina, testifies as follows : " As I left my 
native State on account of slavery, and deserted the 
home of my fathers to escape the sound of the lash 
and the shrieks of tortured victims, I would gladly 
bury in oblivion the recollection of those scenes with 
which I have been familiar. But this cannot be. 
They come over my memory like gory spectres, and 
implore me, with resistless power, in the name of a 
God of mercy, in the name of a crucified Saviour, in 
the name of humanity, for the sake of the slave- 
holder, as well as the slave, to bear witness to the 
horrors of the Southern prison-house." She proceeds 


to describe dreadful tragedies, the actors in which 
she says were " men and women of the first families 
in South Carolina ; " and that their cruelties did not, 
in the slightest degree, affect their standing in soci- 
ety. Her sister, Angelina Grimke, declared : " While 
I live, and slavery lives, I must testify against it. 
Not merely for the sake of my poor brothers and 
sisters in bonds ; for even were slavery no curse to 
its victims, the exercise of arbitrary power works 
such fearful ruin upon the hearts of slave-holders, that 
I should feel impelled to labor and pray for its over- 
throw with my latest breath." Among the horrible 
barbarities she enumerates is the case of a girl thir- 
teen years old, who was flogged to death by her 
master. She says : " I asked a prominent lawyer, 
who belonged to one of the first families in the State, 
whether the murderer of this helpless child could not 
be indicted, and he coolly replied that the slave was 

Mr. 's property, and if he chose to suffer the 

loss, no one else had anything to do with it." She 
proceeds to say : " I felt there could be for me no 
rest in the midst of such outrages and pollutions. 
Yet I saw nothing of slavery in its most vulgar and 
repulsive forms. I saw it in the city, among the 
fashionable and the honorable, where it was garnished 
by refinement *and decked out for show. It is my 
deep, solemn, deliberate conviction, that this is a 
cause worth dying for. I say so from what I have 
seen, and heard, and known, in a land of slavery, 
whereon rest the darkness of Egypt and the sin of 
Sodom." I once asked Miss Angelina if she thought 
abolitionists exaggerated the horrors of slavery. She 
replied, with earnest emphasis : " They cannot be 
exaggerated. It is impossible for imagination to go 


beyond the facts." To a lady who observed that the 
time had not yet come for agitating the subject, she 
answered : " I apprehend if thou wert a slave, toil- 
ing in the fields of Carolina, thou wouldst think the 
time had fully come." 

Mr. Thome of Kentucky, in the course of his elo- 
quent lectures on this subject, said : " I breathed my 
first breath in an atmosphere of slavery. But though 
I am heir to a slave inheritance, I am bold to de- 
nounce the whole system as an outrage, a complica- 
tion of crimes, and wrongs, and cruelties, that make 
angels weep." 

Mr. Allen of Alabama, in a discussion with the 
students at Lane Seminary, in 1834, told of a slave 
who was tied up and beaten all day, with a paddle 
full of holes. "At night, his flesh was literally 
pounded to a jelly. The punishment was inflicted 
within hearing of the academy and the public green. 
But no one took any notice of it. No one thought 
any wrong was done. At our house, it is so common 
to hear screams from a neighboring plantation that 
we think nothing of it. Lest any one should think 
that the slaves are generally well treated, and that 
the cases I mentioned are exceptions, let me be dis- 
tinctly understood that cruelty is the rule, and kind- 
ness is the exception." 

In the same discussion, a student from Virginia, 
after relating cases of great cruelty, said : " Such 
things are common all over Virginia ; at least, so far 
as I am acquainted. But the planters generally avoid 
punishing their slaves before strangers" 

Miss Mattie Griffith of Kentucky, whose entire 
property consisted in slaves, emancipated them all. 
The noble-hearted girl wrote to me : " I shall go 


forth into the world penniless ; but I shall work with 
a light heart, and, best of all, I shall live with an 
easy conscience." Previous to this generous resolu- 
tion, she had never read any abolition document, and 
entertained the common Southern prejudice against 
them. But her own observation so deeply impressed 
her with the enormities of slavery, that she was im- 
pelled to publish a book, called " The Autobiography 
of a Female Slave." I read it with thrilling interest ; 
but some of the scenes made my nerves quiver so 
painfully that I told her I hoped they were too 
highly colored. She shook her head sadly, and re- 
plied : " I am sorry to say that every incident in the 
book has come within my own knowledge." 

St. George Tucker, Judge and Professor of Law in 
Virginia, speaking of the legalized murder of run- 
aways, said : " Such are the cruelties to which a state 
of slavery gives birth — such the horrors to which 
the human mind is capable of being reconciled by its 
adoption." Alluding to our struggle in '76, he said : 
" While we proclaimed our resolution to live free or 
die, we imposed on our fellow-men of different com- 
plexion a slavery ten thousand times worse than the 
utmost extremity of the oppressions of which we com- 

Governor Giles, in a message to the Legislature of 
Virginia, referring to the custom of selling free col- 
ored people into slavery, as a punishment for offences 
not capital, said : " Slavery must be admitted to be a 
punishment of the highest order ; and, according to 
the just rule for the apportionment of punishment to 
crimes, it ought to be applied only to crimes of the 
highest order. The most distressing reflection in the 
application of this punishment to female offenders is, 


that it extends to their offspring ; and the innocent 
are thus punished with the guilty." Yet one hun- 
dred and twenty thousand innocent babes in this 
country are annually subjected to a punishment 
which your governor declared " ought to be applied 
only to crimes of the highest order." 

Jefferson said : " One day of American slavery is 
worse than a thousand years of that which we rose in 
arms to oppose." Alluding to insurrections, he said : 
" The Almighty has no attribute that can take side 
with us in such a contest." 

John Randolph declared : " Every planter is a sen- 
tinel at his own door. Every Southern mother, when 
she hears an alarm of fire in the night, instinctively 
presses her infant closer to her bosom." 

Looking at the system of slavery in the light of 
all this evidence, do you candidly think we deserve 
" twofold damnation " for detesting it ? Can you not 
believe that we may hate the system, and yet be truly 
your friends ? I make allowance for the excited state 
of your mind, and for the prejudices induced by edu- 
cation. I do not care to change your opinion of me ; 
but I do wish you could be persuaded to examine this 
subject dispassionately, for the sake of the prosperity 
of Virginia, and the welfare of unborn generations, 
both white and colored. For thirty years, abolition- 
ists have been trying to reason with slave-holders, 
through the press, and in the halls of Congress. 
Their efforts, though directed to the masters only, 
have been met with violence and abuse almost equal 
to that poured on the head of John Brown. Yet 
surely we, as a portion of the Union, involved in the 
expense, the degeneracy, the danger, and the dis- 
grace of this iniquitous and fatal system, have a right 


to speak about it, and a right to be heard also. At 
the North, we willingly publish pro-slavery argu- 
ments, and ask only a fair field and no favor for the 
other side. But you will not even allow your own 
citizens a chance to examine this important subject. 
Your letter to me is published in Northern papers, as 
well as Southern ; but my reply will not be allowed to 
appear in any Southern paper. The despotic measures 
you take to silence investigation, and shut out the 
light from your own white population, prove how lit- 
tle reliance you have on the strength of your cause. 
In this enlightened age, all despotisms ought to come 
to an end by the agency of moral and rational means. 
But if they resist such agencies, it is in the order of 
Providence that they must come to an end by vio- 
lence. History is full of such lessons. 

Would that the veil of prejudice could be removed 
from your eyes. If you would candidly examine the 
statements of Governor Hincks of the British West 
Indies, and of the Rev. Mr. Bleby, long time a mis- 
sionary in those islands, both before and after eman- 
cipation, you could not fail to be convinced that Cash 
is a more powerful incentive to labor than the Lash, 
and far safer also. One fact in relation to those 
islands is very significant. While the working peo- 
ple were slaves, it was always necessary to order out 
the military during the Christmas holidays; but, 
since emancipation, not a soldier is to be seen. A 
hundred John Browns might land there without ex- 
citing the slightest alarm. 

To the personal questions you ask me, I will reply 
in the name of all the women of New England. It 
would be extremely difficult to find any woman in 
our villages who does not sew for the poor, and watch 


with the sick, whenever occasion requires. We pay 
our domestics generous wages, with which they can 
purchase as many Christmas gowns as they please ; a 
process far better for their characters, as well as our 
own, than to receive their clothing as a charity, after 
being deprived of just payment for their labor. I 
have never known an instance where the " pangs of 
maternity" did not meet with requisite assistance; 
and here at the North, after we have helped the 
mothers, we do not sell the babies. 

I readily believe what you state concerning the 
kindness of many Virginia matrons. It is creditable 
to their hearts : but after all, the best that can be 
done in that way is a poor equivalent for the perpet- 
ual wrong done to the slaves, and the terrible liabili- 
ties to which they are always subject. Kind masters 
and mistresses among you are merely lucky accidents. 
If any one chooses to be a brutal despot, your laws and 
customs give him complete power to do so. And the 
lot of those slaves who have the kindest masters is 
exceedingly precarious. In case of death, or pecuni- 
ary difficulties, or marriages in the family, they may 
at any time be suddenly transferred from protection 
and indulgence to personal degradation, or extreme 
severity ; and if they should try to escape from such 
sufferings, anybody is authorized to shoot them down 
like dogs. 

With regard to your declaration that " no South- 
erner ought henceforth to read a line of my composi- 
tion," I reply that I have great satisfaction in the 
consciousness of having nothing to lose in that quarter. 
Twenty-seven years ago I published a book called 
"An Appeal in Behalf of that Class of Americans 
called Africans." It influenced the minds of several 


young men afterward conspicuous in public life, 
through whose agency the cause was better served 
than it could have been by me. From that time to 
this, I have labored too earnestly for the slave to be 
agreeable to slave-holders. Literary popularity was 
never a paramount object with me, even in my 
youth ; and, now that I am old, I am utterly indif- 
ferent to it. But, if I cared for the exclusion you 
threaten, I should at least have the consolation of 
being exiled with honorable company. Dr. Chan- 
ning's writings, mild and candid as they are, breathe 
what you would call arrant treason. William C. 
Bryant, in his capacity of editor, is openly on our 
side. The inspired muse of Whittier has incessantly 
sounded the trumpet for moral warfare with your in- 
iquitous institution ; and his stirring tones have been 
answered, more or less loudly, by Pierpont, Lowell, 
and Longfellow. Emerson, the Plato of America, 
leaves the scholastic seclusion he loves so well, and, 
disliking noise with all his poetic soul, bravely takes 
his stand among the trumpeters. George W. Curtis, 
the brilliant writer, the eloquent lecturer, the elegant 
man of the world, lays the wealth of his talent on 
the altar of Freedom, and makes common cause with 
rough-shod reformers. 

The genius of Mrs. Stowe carried the outworks of 
your institution at one dash, and left the citadel open 
to besiegers, who are pouring in amain. In the 
church, on the ultra-liberal side, it is assailed by the 
powerful battering-ram of Theodore Parker's elo- 
quence. On the extreme orthodox side is set a huge 
fire, kindled by the burning words of Dr. Cheever. 
Between them is Henry Ward Beecher, sending a 
shower of keen arrows into your intrenchments; and 


with him ride a troop of sharp-shooters from all sects. 
If you turn to the literature of England or France, 
you will find your institution treated with as little 
favor. The fact is, the whole civilized world pro- 
claims slavery an outlaw, and the best intellect of the 
age is active in hunting it down. 

L. Makia Child. 


Watland, December, 1859. 

I thank you very cordially for your affectionate 
letter, and I am right glad you and your husband 
were so much pleased with my doings. Recent events 
have renewed my youth and strength, and filled me 
with electricity, and one word of apology for slavery 
makes the sparks fly. What a sublime martyrdom 
was that of old John Brown ! There was nothing 
wanting in the details of his conduct. There was a 
grand simplicity and harmony throughout. 

I reverenced him for refusing to be prayed over by 
slave-holding priests ; and how my heart jumped to- 
ward him, when I read of his kissing the little col- 
ored child, on his way to the gallows ! In last night's 
" Liberator " there is a very touching letter, which I 
received from a colored man in Ohio, about John 
Brown. You will see it, for I hear you have sub- 
scribed for that paper. The colored people in Bos- 
ton held a prayer-meeting all day, on the 2d * of De- 
cember, and I chose to spend that solemn day with 
them. There was nothing there to jar upon the ten- 
der sadness of my feelings. There was no one to 

1 The 2d of December, 1859, was the day on which John Brown 
was hanged 


question the old hero's claims to reverence, or to 
doubt his sanity of mind. All they knew about it 
was, that he was the friend of their oppressed race, 
and that he proved it by dying for them. It was very 
touching to hear them sing appropriate Methodist 
hymns so plaintively. Some of their prayers were 
uncouth, of course, because the pride and prejudice 
of white men have prevented their having a chance 
for mental culture ; but many of them were eloquent, 
from the simple effect of earnestness. One old black 
man who informed the Lord that he " had been a 
slave, and knew how bitter it was," ejaculated with 
great fervor, "and since it has pleased thee to take 
away our Moses, oh ! Lord God ! raise us up a 
Joshua." To which all the congregation responded 
with a loud " Amen ! " The 16th of December was 
more painful to me than the 2d. Those other vic- 
tims were young, and wanted to live ; and they had 
not so many manifestations of sympathy to sustain 
them as their grand old leader had. If Brown had 
not taken the arsenal, but had simply taken off such 
slaves as wanted to go, as he did in Missouri, and had 
died for that, I should be more completely satisfied 
with his martyrdom. But he liked Old Testament 
heroes better than I do. He had his mind filled with 
the idea of founding a " city of refuge ; " and as he 
acted from his own conscientious convictions, I have 
no disposition to blame him, though I wish it had 
been otherwise. The lesson I learn from it is to try 
to act up to my own standard of duty as faithfully 
as he did to his. In a moral point of view his fail- 
ure will prove a magnificent success, worth a thousand 
such as he planned. 

" God moves in a mysterious way, 
His wonders to perform." 



Wayland, 1859. 

Your package arrived on Saturday evening, but 
Theodore Parker had the start of you. He had sent 
me the sermon the Thursday before, accompanied by 
a brief little farewell note in pencil, which I shall 
treasure among my "sacred relics;" for my heart 
misgives me that I shall never look upon that So- 
cratic head again. I read the sermon, forthwith, to 
Mr. Child, and a jewel of a sermon we both thought 
it. Though not a farewell discourse, it seems to have 
a farewell sadness about it. . . . Newman's book on 
The Soul seemed to me a very admirable work. The 
Phases of Faith pleased me by the honesty of its con- 
fessions, and I read it with all the eagerness we all 
so naturally feel to arrive at the inmost spiritual se- 
crets of another soul ; but the conclusion left me 
very uncomfortable. It seemed, as the collegian said 
in his theme, " to land me in the great ocean of eter- 
nity." I had travelled so far, and so confidently, with 
him, to arrive — nowhere ! I cannot say, as Lessing 
did, that if God offered him the truth with one hand, 
and the investigation with the other, he would choose 
the latter. I want to believe. Above all things, I 
want to believe. If I can only be sure that I do not 
accept delusion for truth. Different qualities of my 
mind so nearly balance each other that they cause 
me severe conflicts. No mortal will ever know 
through what long deserts I have passed ; how bitter 
have proved the waters wherewith I have tried to 
slake my mighty thirst ; and what hordes of Philis- 
tines have come out to do battle. Whether I shall 
ever get a sight of Canaan before I die, I know not. 



Wayland, 1859. 

I would gladly come to meet you, to save you 
trouble ; but for no other reason. As for turning us 
out of our chamber, we transfer only our bodies ; and 
should you consider that any great trouble, for the 
sight of a precious friend ? Moreover, suppose it was 
any trouble, be it known to you that I would turn 
myself out of my house, and live in a tree, any time, 
for you. Please put quite out of your head all idea 
that your coming will give me trouble. In the first 
place, I will promise not to take trouble. In the 
next place, I would inform you that the world is di- 
vided into two classes : those who love to minister 
to others, and those who like to be ministered unto. 
I think I belong to the first class. I also belong to 
the class described in " Counterparts : " those to whom 
it is more necessary to love than to be loved ; though 
both are essential to my happiness. Bad, isn't it? 
for a childless woman of sixty years. But then my 
good David serves me for husband and " baby and 
all." What a singular book is that " Counterparts." 
It has some of the inspiration of the tripod, and some 
of the confusion also. The philosophy is sometimes 
unintelligible, and the moral influence in some degree 
dubious. How gorgeous is the style ; how the em- 
broidery and the jewels are piled on ! It made me 
think of Madame Bishop's singing. She was so fond 
of fioritune in music, that when she sang some com- 
mon, simple air, even Rosa was sometimes puzzled 
to recognize it. Yet Madame Bishop charmed me 
with her tone-embroidery, and so does this woman 
with her word-embroidery. Some of her comparisons 


sparkle with poetry ; but it is " sparkle," not glow. 
It is from outward, not inward light. They tell me 
she is a German, resident in England ; and that ac- 
counts for the un-Englishness of some of her phrase- 
olog}\ A Jewess she is, of course. I am always 
pleased to have the Jews do anything great ; as I am 
to have the colored people, or any other persecuted 
race. I was so glad the Rothschilds and others com- 
pelled the Emperor of Austria to repeal his contempt- 
uous law, by resolving to have no commercial rela- 
tions with Austrians ! The silly despot concluded it 
was safer to offend the Pope than to displease the 
wealthy Jews. 



I have made an excursion lately, which is unusual 
for me. Miss L. wanted to go to Newbury to see 
her sister, and was too feeble to go alone, and asked 
me to go with her. Her sister owns a mill, where 
the Artichoke joins the Merrimack. . . . 

Friend Whittier lives about four miles from the 
mill, across the river. The bridge was being re- 
paired, which made it necessary to go a long way 
round. I was not sorry, for the scenery was lovely. 
We rode along the Merrimack nearly all the way. 
The sunshine was rippling it with gold, and the oars 
of various little boats and rafts were dropping silver 
as they went. I think nature never made such a 
vivid impression on me as it has this summer. I 
don't know whether it is because I have so very few 
human ties, or whether it is that I feel a sort of fare- 
well tenderness for the earth, because I am growing 


Friend Whittier and his gentle Quakerly sister 
seemed delighted to see me, or, rather, he seemed de- 
lighted and she seemed pleased. There was a Re- 
publican meeting that evening, at which he felt 
obliged to show himself ; but he came back before 
long, having indiscreetly excused himself by stating 
that I was at his house. The result was, that a posse 
of Republicans came, after the meeting was over, to 
look at the woman who " fired hot shot at Governor 
Wise." In the interim, however, I had some cosy 
chat with Friend Whittier, and it was right pleasant 
going over our anti-slavery reminiscences. Oh, those 
were glorious times ! working shoulder to shoulder, 
in such a glow of faith ! — too eager working for hu- 
manity to care a fig whether our helpers were priests 
or infidels. That's the service that is pleasing in the 
sight of God. 

Whittier made piteous complaints of time wasted 
and strength exhausted by the numerous loafers who 
came to see him out of mere idle curiosity, or to put 
up with him to save a penny. I was amused to hear 
his sister describe some of these irruptions in her slow, 
Quakerly fashion. " ±nee has no idea," said she, 
" how much f " ae Greenleaf spends in trying to lose 
these peo" 1 , in the streets. Sometimes he comes 
horn .^nd says,*' Well, sister, I had hard work to lose 
hi* ,. but I have lost him.' " " But I can never lose a 
h d." said Whittier. " The women are more pertina- 
cious than the men ; don't thee find 'em so, Maria ? " 
I tcJ.d him I did. "How does thee manage to get 
time £o do anything? " said he. I told him I took 
care to live away from the railroad, and kept a bull- 
dog and ^ii pitch-fork, and advised him to do the same. 



Wayland, September 20, 1860. 

I expect to be in Boston in a few days, and should 
like to look at RantouTs speech, if you have the vol- 
ume at your office. . . . 

It seems as if slavery would be the death of me. 
If all I suffer on the subject counts as vicarious atone- 
ment for the slave-holders, they are in a hopeful way. 
My indignation rises higher than it used to in my 
younger days. According to the general rule, I ought 
to grow calmer, but I do not. If the monster had 
one head, assuredly I should be a Charlotte Corclay. 


Wayland, 1860. 

You are almost constantly present with me, in 
these days of this declining year, and to-morrow I 
am sure my first waking thought will be of you and 
the dear one who a year ago passed behind the veil ; 
that veil so dark and heavy, with merely a line of 
golden light around its edges, intimating the inner, 
invisible glory. More and more strongly do I feel, as 
I grow older, that this unsatisfactory existence is the 
mere threshold of a palace of glories ; but reason is 
importunate with its questions of how and where. I 
strive to attain to an habitual state of child-like trust, 
to feel always, as I do sometimes, like a little one 
that places its hand within its father's, and is satis- 
fied to be led, it knows not whither. 

Mr. is a great, good man, and when he lets 

doctrines alone his preaching always edifies and 
strengthens me. But he has no logic in his com- 
position ; not a jot ; and sometimes I wish I had not. 


Sometimes I think the light from God's own throne 
is best transmitted through the transparent golden 
veil of poesy. But there stands my reason, a stub- 
born fact ; and it will not accept any supernatural 
mediums between my soul and its Heavenly Father ; 
whether the mediums be Virgin Mothers, or Divine 
Humanities. There is undoubtedly a sense in which 
the doctrine of Divine Humanity is true ; for in its 
highest ideal all humanity is divine. But that sense 

would be very unsatisfactory to Mr. . 

How I should like to know what your sister's act- 
ive soul is now thinking of all these things ! Per- 
haps she has introduced Theodore Parker to Dr. 
Hopkins ; and perhaps Luther comes up behind 
them " with the sound of iron shoes upon a stone 
pavement, " as Swedenborg describes his walk in 
the spiritual world. It bears considerable resem- 
blance to his walk in this world, I think. If Dr. 
Channing joins them, it will be in velvet slippers, on 
the softest carpet. 


Medford, 1860. 

You doubtless remember Thomas Sims, the fugitive 
slave, who was surrendered in Boston, in 1852. I saw 
a letter from him to his sister expressing an intense 
longing for his freedom, and I swore " by the Eternal," 
as General Jackson used to say, that as Massachusetts 
had sent him into slavery, Massachusetts should bring 
him back. I resolved, also, that it should all be done 
with pro-slavery money. They told me that I had 
undertaken to " hoe a very hard row." I laughed, 
and said, " It shall be done : General Jackson never 
retracts." I expected to have to write at least a hun- 


dred letters, and to have to station myself on the 
steps of the State House this winter, to besiege peo- 
ple. Sims is a skilful mechanic and his master asks 
$1,800 for him. A large sum for an abolitionist to 
get out of pro-slavery purses ! But I got it ! I got it ! 
I got it ! Hurrah ! I had written only eighteen let- 
ters, when one gentleman promised to pay the whole 
sum, provided I would not mention his name. 


Medfoed, January 3, 1861. 

To the Hon. Lemuel Shaw, — By this mail I 
send you three pamphlets, for which I ask a candid 
perusal. With deep sadness I saw your respected 
and influential name signed to an address in favor of 
repealing the Personal Liberty Bill. I trust you will 
not deem me disrespectful if I ask whether yon have 
reflected well on all the bearings of this important 
subject. Perhaps you may consider me, and those 
with whom I labor, as persons prone to look only on 
one side. Grant that it is so — is it not the neglected 
side ? is it not the right side ? And are not you 
yourself, in common with all human beings, liable to 
look upon things too much from one point of view ? 
I presume that your social environment is almost 
entirely conservative ; and conservative of habits and 
stereotyped sayings, rather than of the original prin- 
ciples on which the government of this country was 
founded. Have you carefully examined and duly 
considered the other side ? This mutual agreement 
between North and South to keep millions of fellow- 
beings in abject degradation and misery cannot pos- 
sibly be right. No sophistry can make it appear so 



to hearts and minds not frozen or blinded by the in- 
fluence of trade or politics. 

If the common plea of the inferiority of the African 
race be true, that only adds meanness to our guilt ; 
the magnanimous strong are ashamed not to protect 
the weak. But then everybody knows that an im- 
mense proportion of American slaves are not black. 
Thousands upon thousands of them are lighter than 
Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, Greeks, etc. They are 
the sons and daughters of our presidents, governors, 
judges, senators, and generals. The much vaunted 
Anglo-Saxon blood is coursing in their veins, through 
generations after generations. 

If you set aside heart and conscience as appropriate 
guides for women only, and assume pure cold intellect 
for a standard of action, what answer will enlightened 
reason give, if you ask whether free institutions in 
one part of the country can possibly survive continual 
compromises with despotism in another part ? If the 
lowest person in the community is legally oppressed, 
is not the highest endangered thereby ? And does 
not the process inevitably demoralize the people by 
taking away from law that which renders it sacred, 
namely, equal and impartial justice ? I again ask 
you, respectfully and earnestly, to read my pamphlets 
with candid attention. If the request seems to you 
obtrusive or presumptuous, my apology is that I be- 
lieve you to be an upright and kind man, and there- 
fore infer that your heart and conscience are not in 
fault, but only the blinding influences of your social 
environment. Yours respectfully, 

L. Maria Child. 



Medford, January, 1861. 

Tired in mind and body, I sit down to write to you 
and tell you all about it. On Wednesday evening I 
went to Mrs. Chapman's reception. The hall inside 
was beautiful with light and banners ; and outside 
the street was beautiful with moonlight and prismatic 
icicles. All went on quietly. People walked about 
and talked, occasionally enlivened by music of the 
Germania Band. They seemed to enjoy themselves, 
and I (being released from the care of unruly boys, 
demolishing cake and spilling slops as they did 
last year) did my best to help them have a good 
time. But what with being introduced to strangers, 
and chatting with old acquaintances half forgotten, I 
went home to Derne Street very weary, yet found 
it impossible for me to sleep. I knew there were very 
formidable preparations to mob the anti-slavery meet- 
ing the next day, and that the mayor was avowedly 
on the side of the mob. I would rather have given 
fifty dollars than attend the meeting ; but conscience 
told me it was a duty. I was excited and anxious ; 
not for myself, but for Wendell Phillips. Hour after 
hour of the night, I heard the clock strike, while 
visions were passing through, my mind of that noble 
head assailed by murderous hands, and I obliged to 
stand by without the power to save him. 

I went very early in the morning, and entered the 
Tremont Temple by a private labyrinthine passage. 
There I found a company of young men, a portion of 
the self-constituted body-guard of Mr. Phillips. They 
looked calm, but resolute and stern. I knew they were 
all armed, as well as hundreds of others ; but their 


weapons were not visible. The women friends came 
in gradually by the same private passage. It was a 
solemn gathering, I assure you ; for though there was 
a pledge not to use weapons unless Mr. Phillips or 
'some other anti-slavery speaker was personally in 
danger, still nobody could foresee what might happen. 
The meeting opened well. The anti-slavery senti- 
ment was there in strong force; but soon the mob 
began to yell from the galleries. They came tumb- 
ling in by hundreds. The papers will tell you of 
their goings on. Such yelling, screeching, stamping, 
and bellowing I never heard. It was a full realiza- 
tion of the old phrase, " All hell broke loose." Mr. 
Phillips stood on the front of the platform for a full 
hour, trying to be heard whenever the storm lulled 
a little. They cried, " Throw him out ! " " Throw a 
brick-bat at him ! " " Your house is a-flre ; don't you 
know your house is a-flre ? go put out your house ! " 
Then they 'd sing, with various bellowing and shriek- 
ing accompaniments, " Tell John Andrew, tell John 
Andrew, John Brown 's dead." I should think there 
were four or five hundred of them. At one time they 
all rose up, many of them clattered down-stairs, and 
there was a surging forward towards the platform. 
My heart beat so fast I could hear it ; for I did not 
then know how Mr. Phillips's armed friends were 
stationed at every door and in the middle of every 
aisle. They formed a firm wall which the mob could 
not pass. At last it was announced that the police 
were coming. I saw and heard nothing of them, but 
there was a lull. Mr. Phillips tried to speak, but his 
voice was again drowned. Then by a clever stroke 
of management he stooped forward and addressed his 
speech to the reporters stationed directly below him. 


This tantalized the mob, and they began to call out, 
" Speak louder ! We want to hear what you 're say- 
ing." Whereupon he raised his voice, and for half 
an hour he seemed to hold them in the hollow of his 
hand. But as soon as he sat down they began to 
yell and sing again, to prevent any more speaking. 
But Higginson made himself heard through the storm, 
and spoke in very manly and effective style ; the pur- 
port of which was that to-day he would set aside the 
subject of slavery, and take his stand upon the right 
of free speech, which the members of this society 
were determined to maintain at every hazard. I for- 
got to mention that Wendell Phillips was preceded 
by James Freeman Clarke, whom the mob treated 
with such boisterous insults that he was often obliged 
to pause in his remarks. After Mr. Phillips, R. W. 
Emerson tried to address the people, but his voice 
was completely drowned. After the meeting ad- 
journed, a large mob outside waited for Mr. Phillips, 
but he went out by the private entrance, and arrived 
home safely. 

In the afternoon meeting the uproar was greater 
than it had been in the forenoon. The mob cheered 
and hurrahed for the Union, and for Edward Everett, 
for Mayor Wightman, and for Charles Francis Adams. 
The mayor came at last, and, mounting the platform, 
informed his " fellow-citizens " in the galleries that 
the trustees of the building had requested him to 
disperse the meeting and clear the hall. Turning 
the meeting out-of-doors was precisely what they 
wanted him to do. 

[The remainder of this letter has been lost, but the 
purport of it was, that on the mayor's complying 
with the demand that he should read the letter aloud 


to the meeting, it appeared that the trustees had de- 
sired him to disperse the mob, and not the meetings 
The presiding officer (Mr. Edmund Quincy) there- 
upon called upon him to fulfil his duty and eject the 
mob from the hall, which was done within ten minutes, 
to the intense chagrin of the rioters and the discom- 
fiture of the mayor, and the meeting proceeded with- 
out further serious interruption. The mayor, on 
leaving the hall, promised that an adequate police 
force should be sent to protect the evening meeting, 
and he then returned to the City Hall to issue an 
order that the hall should be closed and no meeting 
permitted there that evening. These events took 
place at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts 
Anti-Slavery Society, on the 24th of January, 1861. 
— Eds.] 


Wayland, May 5, 1861. 
I am glad to witness the universal enthusiasm for 
the U. S. flag, though the sight of that flag always 
inspires a degree of sadness in my own breast. I 
should so delight in having it thoroughly worthy of 
being honored ! But every flap of the stars and 
stripes repeats to me the story of those poor slaves 
who, through great perils and sufferings, succeeded 
in making their way to Fort Pickens, strengthened 
by the faith that President Lincoln was their friend, 
and that his soldiers would protect them. They 
were chained and sent back to their masters, who 
whipped them till they nearly died under the lash. 
When such things are done under the U. S. flag, I 
cannot and I will not say, " God bless it ! " Nay, 
unless it ceases from this iniquity, I say, deliberately 


and solemnly, " May the curse of God rest upon it ! 
May it be trampled in the dust, kicked by rebels, and 
spit upon by tyrants ! " But I think it will cease 
from this iniquity. These wicked things that have 
happened at Fort Pickens and Fort Monroe, occurred 
during the twenty days before hostilities commenced. 
The U. S. government, having offered the rebels 
twenty days during which they might make up their 
minds to lay down their arms, perhaps thought it nec- 
essary to obey that hateful clause*in the Constitution. 
But now the offered term of grace has expired. If 
they continue in arms, they are no longer a part of 
the Union, and none of those devilish obligations of 
the Union can be considered as any longer binding 
upon us ; not even by men who have no other con- 
sciences than legal consciences. . . . Twenty years 
ago, John Quincy Adams maintained on the floor of 
Congress the constitutional right of the United States 
to proclaim emancipation to all the slaves in time of 
war, either foreign or civil. He maintained that it was 
in strict conformity to the law of nations and the laws 
of war, and he challenged any man to prove to the con- 
trary. No one attempted to do it. Let us hope and 
trust that a great good is coming out of this seeming 
evil. Meanwhile, I wait to see how the United States 
will deport itself. When it treats the colored people 
with justice and humanity, I will mount its flag in 
my great elm-tree, and I will thank you to present me 
with a flag for a breast-pin ; but, until then, I would 
as soon wear the rattlesnake upon my bosom as the 
eagle. I have raved and I have wept about that 
Fort Pickens affair. When one puts one's self in the 
slave's stead, pity and indignation will boil over in 
rage, in view of such enormities. 



Watland, June 5, 1861. 

I return " Silas Marner " with cordial thanks. It 
entertained me greatly. His honest attempts at ed- 
ucation were extremely amusing. What a genuine 
touch of nature was " Eppie in the tole hole ! " What 
a significant fact it is in modern literature, that the 
working class are so generally the heroes. No princes 
in disguise are necessary now to excite an interest in 
the reader. The popular mind is educated up to the 
point of perceiving that carpenters, weavers, etc., are 
often real princes in disguise. The longer I live, the 
more entirely and intensely do my sympathies go 
with the masses. 

I am glad to see some amendment with regard to 
sending back fugitive slaves. Those at Fort Monroe 
are to be protected so long as Virginia continues in 
rebellion. God grant that all the slave-holders may 
rebel, and remain in rebellion, till the emancipation 
of their slaves is accomplished ! Success to Jeff. Da- 
vis, till he goads the free States into doing, from pol- 
icy and revenge, what they have not manhood to do 
from justice and humanity ! It is a dreadful thing, 
a most demoralizing thing, to have the laws of one's 
country at such variance with the laws of God. I 
never realized it so fully as when I heard your good, 
conscientious, intelligent friend say that he would 
send back a fugitive slave because the Constitution 
required it. When our fathers joined hands with 
slave-holders to form the Constitution, with their feet 
on the prostrate and helpless slaves, they did sad 
work for their descendants. If my father had made 
a compact with a rich neighbor that I would help 


him rob a poor one, I should break the compact. 
Law is not law, if it violates principles of eternal 
justice. If drunken foreigners are hired to vote for 
a member of Congress, and the vote of that member 
causes the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law, 
probably because he wishes to obtain some still higher 
office, am I bound to sell my soul to perdition be- 
cause the iniquity has been framed into a law ? The 
dictionary does not contain words enough to express 
my detestation of all laws framed for the support of 
tyranny. To keep that unrighteous compact with 
fellow-citizens was bad enough, but to keep it with 
rebels, who have over and over again violated all 
their part of the compact, is adding imbecility and 
absurdity to wickedness. 


Wayland, July 26, 1861. 

One can't think about anything else but the war ; 
and where is the prophet inspired to see the end 
thereof ? All seems to me a mass of dark thunder- 
clouds, illumined here and there with flashes of light 
that show God is behind the clouds. I have never 
in my life felt the presence of God as I do at this 
crisis. The nation is in his hand, and he is purging 
it by a fiery process. The people would not listen to 
the warnings and remonstrances of the abolitionists, 
uttered year after year in every variety of tone, from 
the gentle exhortations of May and Channing to the 
scathing rebukes of Garrison ; from the close, hard 
logic of Goodell to the flowing eloquence of Phillips. 
More than a quarter of a century ago, Whittier's pen 
of fire wrote on the wall, — 

" Oh ! rouse ye, ere the storm comes forth, — 
The gathered wrath of God and man ! " 


In vain. The people went on with their feasting and 
their merchandise, and lo ! the storm is upon us ! 

Every instance of sending back poor fugitive slaves 
has cut into my heart like the stab of a bowie-knife, 
and made me dejected for days ; not only because I 
pitied the poor wretches who trusted the govern- 
ment in vain, but because I felt that all moral dig- 
nity was taken out of the conflict by such incidents, 
and that the enthusiasm of the soldiers and the peo- 
ple must be diminished by it. A soldier needs a great 
idea to fight for ; and how can the idea of freedom 
be otherwise than obscured by witnessing the wicked, 
mean, unmanly surrendering of poor trembling fugi- 
tives ? The absurd policy of the thing is also pro- 
voking. To send back those who want to serve us, 
to be employed by rebels to help them in shooting 
us ! It seems to me as if the eyes of the government 
were holden, that they cannot see. Still pursuing 
the old policy of years — willing to disregard the 
dictates of justice and humanity, for the sake of con- 
ciliating the few slave-holders we have left to be con- 
ciliated. I have said all along that we needed defeats 
and reverses to make us come up manfully to the 
work of freedom. . . . Yet these last battles, with 
all their terrible incidents, have made me almost 
down sick. Night and day I am thinking of those 
poor soldiers, stabbed after they were wounded, shot 
after they dropped down from fatigue. My heart 
bleeds for the mothers of those sons. And shall all 
this awful havoc be made without removing the 
cause of the war ? without abolishing that detestable 
institution which will always be marring our pros- 
perity and troubling our peace, so long as it is al- 
lowed to exist ? But my belief is that order is to 


be brought out of this chaos. My faith is founded 
upon the fact that God has so wonderfully ordered 
events that it is plainly for a purpose. Only look 
at the sort of men who are now talking real fanatical 
abolitionism ! Men who, a few months ago, were the 
hardest hunkers, the most pro-slavery demagogues ! 
Verily, " it is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous 
in our eyes." 


Wayland, August 22, 1861. 

Three weeks ago I set out to come to see you and 
broke down half way. It was the hottest day we 
have had this summer, and I wilted under it so that 
I had no energy left. I took refuge in the anti- 
slavery office, and there remained in the shade till 
the hour arrived for returning home. It was the 
second day of August, and many anti-slavery friends 
were returning from the celebration of the first at 
Abington, so that quite a levee was held at the office 
the last hour I was there. I know of nothing that 
stirs up my whole being like meeting with old friends 
by whose side I entered into the great moral battle 
thirty years ago. It seems to me the early Chris- 
tians must have experienced similar emotions when 
they met each other. Glorious old Paul ! What an 
anti-slavery man he would have made, if his earthly 
lot had been cast in these times ! Well, his friends 
were mobbed and despised by the world ; but never- 
theless, Christianity sat on the throne of the Caesars, 
and even the selfishness of men paid homage to it. 
Our cause also is going to mount the throne of pop- 
ular favor. Then I shall bid good-by to it, and take 
hold of something else that is unpopular. I never 


work on the winning side, because I know there will 
always be a plenty ready to do such work. 


Watland, August 24, 1861. 

I should have been cheerful in my solitude, had it 
not been for my irrepressible anxiety about public 

I made, and quilted on my lap, the prettiest little 
crib-quilt you ever saw. The outside had ninety-nine 
little pink stars of French calico, on a white ground, 
with a rose- wreath trimming all round for a border ; 
and the lining was a very delicate rose-colored French 
brilliant. It took one month of industrious sewing to 
complete it. I sent it to my dear friend, Mrs. S., in 
honor of her first grand-daughter. It was really a re- 
lief to my mind to be doing something for an innocent 
little baby in these dreadful times. One other recrea- 
tion I have had this summer. My loved and honored 
friend, S. J. May, spent a few weeks in Boston, and 
wrote to me to meet him at his cousin's, S. E. Sew- 
all's. I went after dinner, and left after breakfast 
next morning. How much we did talk ! Sometimes 
laughing over old reminiscences, sometimes serious 
even to sadness in view of the great struggle between 
despotism and freedom. None of us had much faith 
in men, or in any political party ; but we all agreed 
that the will of God was manifestly overruling the 
will of man, and making even his wrath to praise 
him. All thought that emancipation would be the 
result of the war ; the forced result, not the chosen 
one. Miss R. complained of the exceeding slowness 
with which things tended to that result. I told her 
of the consolation an old nurse gave to a mother 


whose child was very sick. The mother said, " The 
medicine don't seem to. work as you thought it 
would." The nurse replied, "It will work. Trust 
in God, ma'am ; he 's tedious, but he 's sure." We 
did n't any of us realize in those early days the ex- 
tent of our privilege in having engaged in a cause 
so righteous, with so many earnest, true-hearted, all- 
alive people. 


Wayland, September 10, 1861. 

Dear Friend Whittier, — ... Nothing on 
earth has such effect on the popular heart as songs, 
which the soldiers would take up with enthusiasm, 
and which it would thereby become the fashion to 
whistle and sing at the street corners. " Old John 
Brown, Hallelujah ! " is performing a wonderful mis- 
sion now. Where the words came from, nobody 
knows, and the tune is an exciting, spirit-stirring 
thing, hitherto unknown outside of Methodist con- 
venticles. But it warms up soldiers and boys, and 
the air is full of it ; just as France was of the Mar- 
seillaise, whose author was for years unknown. 

If the soldiers only had a song, to some spirit-stir- 
ring tune, proclaiming what they went to fight for, or 
thought they went to fight for, — for home, country 
and liberty, and indignantly announcing that they 
did not go to hunt slaves, to send back to their ty- 
rants poor lacerated workmen who for years had been 
toiling for the rich without wages ; if they had such 
a song to a tune that excited them, how rapidly it 
would educate them ! . . . Dr. Furness wrote me 
that a young friend of his was a volunteer in a wealthy 
aristocratic company that went from Philadelphia. 


They returned much worked up about slavery. The 
young man told Dr. F. that he one day met a rude, 
rough man, a corporal, crying right out, blubbering 
like a school-boy. When asked what was the matter, 
he replied, " They 've just sent a poor fellow back 
into slavery. I didn't leave my home to do such 
work as this, and I won't do it. I come here to fight 
for the country and the flag, not to hunt slaves ; and 
if the colonel orders any more such work, I 'm afraid 
I shall shoot him." 

Another who was ordered on picket-duty, of course 
at unusual risk of his life, was told that while he 
was sentinel, if any slave attempted to pass the lines, 
he must turn him back. He replied, " That is an 
order I will not obey." Being reminded of his duty 
to obey orders, he replied, " I know the penalty I in- 
cur, and am ready to submit to it, but I did not en- 
list to do such work and I will not do it." The 
officers, being aware that his feeling would easily be- 
come contagious, modified the order thus : " If any- 
body tries to pass, ascertain that all 's right before 
you allow them to pass." That night the moon shone 
brightly, and the sentinel on duty saw a moving in 
the bushes before him. "Who goes there? An- 
swer quickly ! ' : Up rose a tall ebony man. " Who 
are you?" " A. fugitive." "Are you all right?" 
" Yes, massa." " Then run quick." 

Another time, a lordly Virginian rode up to the 
United States lines with a pass to the other side. 
He curled his lip contemptuously when a United 
States sentinel barred the course of his stylish chariot. 
" Where 's your pass ? " The Virginian, scorning to 
acknowledge authority from a " greasy mechanic " of 
the North, did not deign to make any reply, but 


motioned to the slave who was driving his barouche 
to deliver the paper to the soldier. The slave dis- 
mounted and gave the sentinel the required pass. 
The sentinel seized him, and by a quick motion set 
him twirling down the hill, at the bottom of which 
were marshalled the United States forces. " Now 
you can turn back," said the sentinel. "But I ob- 
tained an order allowing me to pass. How dare you 
hinder me ? " " Where is your order ? " " My ser- 
vant just gave it to you." " Oh, that was an order 
to pass only one, and he has already gone with it." 

The Virginian swore roundly, and called vocifer- 
ously to his slave to come back. The bewildered 
slave attempted to do so, but the mischievous senti- 
nel put his musket across the path. " Show the pa- 
per!" shouted the master. The slave did so. The 
sentinel read it, and coolly replied, " This is a pass 
from Norfolk. You must obtain another to go to 
Norfolk." And so the haughty Southerner was 
obliged to guide his own horses back again whence 
he came. 


Watlanb, January 21, 1862. 

You will make me write to you, you keep doing so 
many things that delight me ! I was moved to write 
you my thanks for " The Two Watchers ; " but I was 
busy working for the " contrabands " at Fortress 
Monroe, and so I kept the thanks warm in my heart, 
without giving them an airing. But that Negro Boat 
Song at Port Royal ! How I have chuckled over it 
and sighed over it ! I keep repeating it morning, 
noon, and night ; and, I believe, with almost as much 
satisfaction as the slaves themselves would do. It is 
a complete embodiment of African humor, and ex- 


pressed as they would express it, if they were learned 
in the mysteries of rhyme and rhythm. I have only 
one criticism on the negro dialect. They would not 
say, " He 4 leab ' de land." They would say, He 
"leff " de land. At least, so speak all the slaves I 
have talked with, or whose talk I have seen reported. 
What a glorious, blessed gift is this gift of song, 
with which you are so lavishly endowed ! Who can 
calculate its influence, which you exert always for 
good ! My David, who always rejoices over your 
writings, was especially pleased with the Boat Song, 
which he prophesies will be sung ere long by thou- 
sands of darkies. He bids me say to you that 

" One bugle note from Whittier's pen 
Is worth at least ten thousand men." 

So you see that you are at least equal to a major- 
general in the forces you lead into the field, and your 
laurels are bloodless. 

You have of course read " The Rejected Stone," 
for it is the most powerful utterance the crisis has 
called forth. God sends us so many great prophets 
that it seems as if he thought us worth saving ; but 
latterly I fear greatly that there is not virtue enough 
left in the country to make salvation possible. Slav- 
ery seems to have poisoned the fountains of our 
national life. I do not know whether it is in the 
providence of God to allow us to be an example to 
the nations, or whether he intends to use us as a 
warning. If we are saved, it will be better than we 
deserve. I would sacrifice everything in life, and life 
itself, to preserve our free institutions ; but if we must 
have the noble structure pulled down about our ears 
by the blind giant Slavery, I hope the poor negroes 
will have a rollicking good time over its ruins. 

1 The Rejected Stone; or, Insurrection vs. Resurrection in America. 
By a Native of Virginia. (M. D. Conway.) Boston, 1861. 

LETTERS. 16 1 

You have doubtless heard of Harriet Tubman, 
whom they call Moses, on account of the multitude 
she has brought out of bondage by her courage and 
ingenuity. She talks politics sometimes, and her un- 
couth utterance is wiser than the plans of politicians. 
She said the other day : " Dey may send de flower ob 
dair young men down South, to die ob de fever in de 
summer, and de agoo in de winter. (Fur 't is cold 
down dar, dough 'tis down South.) Dey may send 
dem one year, two year, tree year, till dey tired ob 
sendiu', or till dey use up all de young men. All no 
use ! God 's ahead ob Massa Linkum. God won't 
let Massa Linkum beat de South till he do de right 
ting. Massa Linkum he great man, and I'se poor 
nigger ; but dis nigger can tell Massa Linkum how 
to save de money and de young men. He do it by 
setting de niggers free. S'pose dar was awfu' big 
snake down dar, on de floor. He bite you. Folks 
all skeered, cause you die. You send for doctor to 
cut de bite ; but snake he rolled up dar, and while 
doctor dwine it, he bite you agin. De doctor cut 
out dat bite ; but while he dwine it, de snake he 
spring up and bite you agin, and so he keep dwine, 
till you kill him. Dat 's what Massa Linkum orter 
know." . . . 

This winter I have for the first time been knitting 
for the army ; but I do it only for Kansas troops. I 
can trust them, for they have vowed a vow unto the 
Lord that no fugitive shall ever be surrendered in 
their camps. There is a nephew of Kossuth in Col- 
onel Montgomery's regiment. A few weeks ago 
when he was on scout duty a mulatto woman im- 
plored him to take her to the Yankee camp where 

her husband was. The mistress rushed out in hot 


pursuit. The young Hungarian reined in his horse, 
and called to the slave, " Jump up, and hold on by 
me ! " She sprang on the horse, and they galloped 
away, under a shower of wrathful words from the mis- 
tress. When they rode into the Kansas camp, all the 
soldiers threw up their caps and hurrahed, and Col- 
onel Montgomery called out, " Three cheers for the 
Union ! " The young Hungarian, Cassimir, is a sort 
of adopted son of one of my relatives, to whom he 
wrote the story. 

It is well that war has some pleasant pictures. 


WAYLAND, 1862. 

I thank you heartily for thinking of me at New 
Year's time. The echo of " hand clapping," which 
you heard when news came of the capture of Port 
Royal, was not from me. I have had but one ap- 
proach to a pleasurable sensation connected with pub- 
lic affairs since this war began, and that was when 
I read Fremont's proclamation. He acknowledged 
the slaves as "men." Nobody else, except the old 
Garrisonian abolitionists, seems to have the faintest 
idea that they have any rights which we are bound 
to recognize. They are to be freed or not, according 
to our necessities or convenience, and then we are to 
do what we please with them, without consulting their 
interest or convenience. It is the same hateful pro- 
slavery spirit everywhere. I felt very little interest 
in the capture of Mason and Slidell. It did not seem 
to me of much consequence, especially as their dis- 
patches were carried to Europe. Living up here 
in Wayland, at a distance from cities and railroads, 
is very conducive to quietude of mind, which is in 


fact in some danger of approaching to drowsiness. 
The prospect of a war with England, superadded to 
onr present troubles, made me almost down sick. 
The pacific policy of our government was an im- 
mense relief to my mind. I did not see any call for 
" astuteness ,: about it. It was simply a question 
whether we had infringed upon the law of nations ; 
and since the lawyers and statesmen all round agreed 
that we had violated it, at least in form, I think it 
was as manly in the nation to acknowledge the mis- 
take as it would have been in an individual. It 
would have been something worse than absurd to go 
to blowing out each other's brains about a mere legal 
technicality. I think Charles Sumner takes the true 
ground. How calm and strong he is ! I know of no 
one who so well deserves the title of Serene High- 

I have written a letter to the " Anti-Slavery Stand- 
ard ; ' : but it is so long that I doubt whether they 
will get it into the next paper. You will think that 
I " roar like any sucking dove." I tried to do so, for 
it did not seem to me right to do anything to increase 
the inflammable state of things. Conscience is apt 
to plague me about acting out my total depravity. 
I thought of several sarcasms which some readers 
might have thought smart, but I suppressed them. 

Ah, how often I have had your thought : " Would 
that increasing nearness to the spiritual world abated 
one jot of its mystery." To me the mystery thickens 
the more I contemplate it. Brother Convers, writing 
to me of the death of his wife, says : " Mysterious 
ocean of Silence ! whence not a sound reaches the ear 
of one who walks on its shores and listens with an ag- 
ony of desire. Yet I often say to myself, what mat- 


ters this, if the soul can only keep its balance of re- 
pose and trust ? Questions and doubts are mostly the 
devil's work. While we are with God, we know lit- 
tle or nothing of them. True it is, 

' The Sphinx sits at the gate of life, 
With the old question on her awful lips ; ' 

but she cannot now devour us, if we do not solve the 
question. The heart has its answer ; an answer 
which God has placed there ; and blessed are those 
who rest content with that. I know of no other faith 
than this of the heart that is worth much. I love 
the simple beauty of old Richard Baxter's expression : 
' The jingling of too much philosophy often drowns 
the music of Aaron's bells.' " I sympathize with 
these expressions of my brother's feelings. 


Watland, 1862. 
I had planned writing to you a few days hence ; 
deferring it for the important reason that I could 
then write on my birthday, and inform you that I 
was sixty years old. But there comes along a pack- 
age from you and Mrs. C , followed by your let- 
ter, and I am so charmed with " John Brent " that I 
must write "right away," as. the children say. How 
all-alive the book is ! Glowing and effervescing, like 
champagne poured out in the sunshine ! I had 
formed the idea that Mr. Winthrop was an uncom- 
mon man ; but I had no idea he was so overflowing 
with genius. Alas, that such a rich and noble life 
should have been cut off in its full vigor by the ruth- 
less hand of slavery ! I took a great interest in him 
because he was a dear friend of yours ; but since a 
portion of his vivacious and beautiful mind has been 


transmitted to me through the pages of his book, I 
feel as if he were my friend, — as if I had known 
and loved him. When I was in Boston, last week, I 
stopped and looked at the advertisement of " John 
Brent " in the windows of Ticknor & Fields. I 
wanted it very much, and was on the point of step- 
ping in and buying it. But I thought of the " con- 
trabands," and of other claims upon me, still nearer, 
so far as natural relationship goes, and I said to my- 
self, " No unnecessary expense till the war is over." 
I walked away very well satisfied with my decision ; 
but I was amazing glad to have the book, and I 
thank Mrs. C a thousand times. It is very. curi- 
ous how often it happens so. My wants are few, but 
when I do want anything very much it is very apt to 
come to me, from some source, without my express- 
ing the wish to any one. I wonder whether there is 
any spiritual magnetism in it ? 


WAYLAND, 1862. 

I inclose twenty dollars, which I wish you would 
use for the " contrabands " in any way you think best. 
I did think of purchasing shoes, of which I understand 
they are much in need, but I concluded it was best 
to send to you to appropriate it as you choose. In 
November I expended eighteen dollars for clothing, 
mostly for women and children, and picked up all 
the garments, blankets, etc., that I could spare. I 
sent them to Fortress Monroe. Last week I gave 
A. L. twenty dollars toward a great box she is filling 
for Port Royal. My interest in the " contrabands," 
everywhere, is exceedingly great ; and at this crisis I 
feel that every one ought to be willing to do their 


utmost. I still have forty dollars left of a fund I 
have set apart for the " contrabands." I keep it for 
future contingencies ; but if you think it is more 
needed now, say the word and you shall have it. 


Watland, 1862. 

So you dispute Gerrit Smith's testimony about my 
being " wise and candid " ? I cannot say I have 
much respect for my wisdom. I think less and less 
of it every year I live. But when I write for the 
public, I think I am generally candid. I do not pro- 
fess to be so in my talk, because that bubbles up, and 
I do not take time to examine its spirit. We all pre- 
sent different phases of character, according to cir- 
cumstances, and I think I do so more than most 
people. It is natural enough that Gerrit Smith 
should deem me " wise." When I approach him, I 
don't go dancing on a slack rope, decorated with 
spangles and Psyche-wings ; I walk on solid ground, 
as demurely as if I were going to meeting, with 
psalm book in hand. If I happen to catch a glimpse 
of a fairy by the way, she and I wink at each other, 
but I never "let on." He supposes the chosen 
teachers of my mind to be profound statesmen and 
pious Christian Fathers. I never introduce to him 
any of my acquaintances of light character. I have 
a consciousness that fairies are not the most respect- 
able company for a woman of my venerable years 
(I shall be sixty to-morrow), and it is only to a few 
that I manifest my predilection for such volatile vis- 
itors. Dear Sarah Shaw likes to see fanciful danc- 
ing on moon-beams, and when I write to her I some- 
times caracole in a fashion that would make good, 


sensible Gerrit Smith wonder what had become of 
the " wisdom " of his sage friend. . . . 

I suppose George's indignation against England is 
not abated by her recent manifestations. I thought 
perhaps you would read Harriet Martin eau's letter in 
the " Standard " aloud for his especial edification, and 
I amused myself with imagining its effect. I didn't 
know but it would make each particular hair on his 
head stand up on end, charged brimful with the 
electricity of righteous wrath. 



Since I saw you, I have often thought of the fear 
you seem to have of Spiritualism. You appear to 
regard it as something uncanny. I cannot feel so 
about it. I don't believe there is any miracle or any 
deviltry about it. I simply believe that the union of 
our spiritual nature with our material is governed by 
laws which we do not understand, and which lie be- 
yond the region of any tests we are as yet able to 
apply. I don't think the devil has anything to do 
with Spiritualism, any more than he has with comets. 
I rather think I don't believe in the devil. I cer- 
tainly never think of him in connection with any 
mysteries that interest me. . . . Now there is elec- 
tricity ! That is an everlasting puzzle to me. I am 
always asking questions about it, and never get any 
of them answered. I have a vague idea that it is 
" the spiritual body " of the universe. I have a great 
many questions laid up to ask Plato when I see him. 
He has been at the high school so long, he must 
know a great deal. . . . My soul goes about " pervad- 
ing " all departments of the universe, "wanting to 



know ; " and the only answer I get is, " Go about 
your business." So I go about it. I have just done 
fifteen pair of mittens and three pair of socks for the 
Kansas troops. I can trust them never to surren- 
der a fugitive slave ; so I work for them with a will. 
Conway of Kansas has made a magnificent speech 
in Congress. It seems to me one of the greatest 
speeches I ever read. I rejoiced also in Bout well's 
speech before the Emancipation League. It was 
ably argued, well arranged, excellent in its spirit, 
judicious and practical in its suggestions. 


WATLAND, 1862. 

The broad meadow lies very beautiful before me ; 
for the frequent rains have kept it fresh and green. 
The sky is a beautiful clear blue, with a light, float- 
ing tracery of silvery clouds. All looks so serene 
and smiling that it is difficult to realize the scenes 
of violence and destruction going on in other parts 
of the country. A little striped squirrel that has for 
weeks come to the stone wall near my back window, 
to eat the breakfast I daily placed for hi in there, has 
disappeared for several days, and the fear that some 
evil beast has devoured him makes me sad. When 
so many mothers are mourning for their sons, not 
knowing where or how they died, I am ashamed to 
say that I have cried a little for the loss of my squir- 
rel. I had learned to love the pretty little creature. 
He came so confidingly and sat up so prettily, nib- 
bling a kernel of corn in his paws. I learned many 
of the little ways of squirrels, which I had never 
known before. He would scratch his ears and wash 
his face like a kitten, and even fold his paws under 


him and go to sleep, within reach of my arm. All 
innocent and peaceful things seem peculiarly attract- 
ive in these times of bloodshed and hatred, and I 
cannot help mourning some for my little squirrel. 


Wayland, December, 1862. 
Your letter did me an " unco deal o' gude," as 
your letters always do. I agree with you entirely 
about the " buss fuss " of metaphysics. It has al- 
ways been my aversion. More than thirty years ago, 
when Mrs. R. was intimate at my brother's, I used 
to hear her discuss Kant's philosophy with collegian 
visitors, until I went to bed without knowing whether 
or not I had " hung myself over the chair and put 
my clothes into bed." I met Mrs. R. in the cars 
several days ago, after an interval of twenty years, 
and what do you think ? In ten minutes she had 
plunged into the depths of Kant's philosophy, and 
was trying to pull me after her. But I resisted 
stoutly. I do sometimes like a bank of fog to look 
at, if there are plenty of rainbows on it ; but I have 
no fancy for sailing through it. Circumstances after- 
ward made me acquainted with the transcendental- 
lists, and I attended some of their meetings, where I 
saw plenty of fog with rainbows flitting over it. I 
remember once after a long silence, when everybody 
was looking in the fire expecting something great to 

come by and by, Mr. turned toward us, with 

that serene glance of his, and said slowly : " Why do 
we rummage about with memory in the Past, to as- 
certain our whereabouts and our whatabouts ? " He 
paused for a reply, and receiving none, he continued : 
" Why do we rummage about in the Past to ascertain 
it ? I am it ; and it is I ; is it not ? " 



Watland, December 21, 1862. 
We live almost like dormice in the winter. Very- 
few people are so completely isolated. But I warm 
up my little den with bright little pictures, and rain- 
bow glories from prisms suspended in the windows. 
I am amused twenty times a day with their fantastic 
variations. Sometimes the portrait of Charles Sum- 
ner is transfigured by the splendid light, and some- 
times the ears of my little white kitten, in the picture 
opposite, are all aglow. The moss on a stick of wood 
in the corner suddenly becomes iridescent, and then 
the ashes on the hearth look like the glittering soil 
where the metallic gnomes live. I am childish enough 
to find pleasure in all this, and to talk aloud to the 
picture of a baby that is being washed. But you 
must not infer from this that I live for amusement. 
On the contrary, I work like a beaver the whole time. 
Just now I am making a hood for a poor neighbor ; 
last week I was making flannels for the hospitals ; 
odd minutes are filled up with ravelling lint ; every 
string that I can get sight of, I pull for my poor op- 
pressed brother Sambo. I write to the " Tribune " 
about him ; I write to the " Transcript " about 
him ; I write to private individuals about him ; and 
I write to the President and Members of Congress 
about him ; I write to Western Virginia and Mis- 
souri about him, and I get the articles published too. 
That shows what progress the cause of freedom is 
making. You see even the grave Historical Society 
of Massachusetts comes up to the work, in Mr. Liv- 
ermore's valuable pamphlet entitled " Historical Re- 
searches." The manner in which poor Sambo's cause 


gets argued and listened to in all quarters now is the 
most encouraging feature of the times. I try to for- 
get Bull Runs and Fredericksburg retreats, and think 
only of the increasing rapidity of moral progress. 
Human hands blunder shockingly ; but the Divine 
Hand is overruling all in infinite wisdom. 



As for the President's proclamation, I was thank- 
ful for it, but it excited no enthusiasm in my mind. 
With my gratitude to God was mixed an under-tone 
of sadness that the moral sense of the people was so 
low that the thing could not be done nobly. How- 
ever we may innate the emancipation balloon, it will 
never ascend among the constellations. The ugly 
fact cannot be concealed that it was done reluctantly 
and stintedly, and that even the degree that was ac- 
complished was done selfishly ; was merely a war 
measure, to which we were forced by our own perils 
and necessities ; and that no recognition of principles 
of justice or humanity surrounded the politic act with 
a halo of moral glory. This war has furnished many 
instances of individual nobility, but our national rec- 
ord is mean. 

But notwithstanding these misgivings, I am truly 
thankful for the proclamation. It is doing us a great 
good in Europe, and will be a powerful agent in help- 
ing on the change of feeling in England. I have al- 
ways put a good deal of trust in the common people 
of England. 

Speaking of individual nobility, how beautifully 
and bravely young Russell behaved when Savage was 
wounded ! I murmured that he was a prisoner when 


his parents had been such consistent and generous 
friends of freedom ; but after all, they have their re- 
ward in having a son to whom opportunities for moral 
greatness came not in vain. Your Robert, too, — 
people say the war has ripened in him all manly qual- 
ities. God bless and protect the two young heroes ! 
They told me in Boston that they had both offered 
to lead colored soldiers. Is it so ? 

I thank you very much for the lovely photograph 

of S . What a pity it is that the ancients were 

ignorant of this wonderful process ! How I should 
like a photograph of Plato ! and how I should like to 
have a representation of the Venus of Milo unmuti- 
lated. Nothing within my limited knowledge of an- 
cient art affects me like that miraculous statue. Is it 
a Venus ? Always it seems to me like the heroic An- 
tigone proclaiming to the tyrant Creon that there is 
a " higher law " than that of kings. The physical 
beauty of the woman is wonderfully inspired with 
moral majesty. 


Wayland, 1863. 

I have been travelling through dark and thorny 
places, dear, where there were no roses of thought to 
send to you ; and ever overhead has been the great 
murky cloud of public affairs that will not scatter 
and let the sunshine through. 

I am glad, dear, that new bright links are being 
continually added to your life. To me there come 
no changes but sad ones ; no new links — only the 
continually dropping away, one after another, of the 
old ones. The decease of my brother adds greatly 
to my loneliness. In my isolated position, he was 


almost my only medium with the world of intellect. 
How much my mind has owed to him can never be 
described. I loved him, too, and this separation, so 
utterly unexpected, rouses up a thousand memories 
of childhood and youth. During the last month of 
his life I was going backward and forward often to 
see him. I was with him the last eight days, and 
with him when his soul departed on its mysterious 
journey to the unknown. Oh, how I suffered ! It 
tore me all to pieces. And now, in the spring-time, 
I cannot make the renovation of nature seem cheer- 
ful. But why should I cast my shadow over you? I 
told you of my sad experiences mainly to account for 
my neglected correspondence. 

I am rejoiced that Robert is so well pleased with 
his regiment. The Lord seems to have inspired the 
colored people to behave remarkably well all through 
this terrible conflict. When I was in Boston, last 
week, I said to Edmund Quincy that never in the 
course of my observation, or in my reading of human 
history, had I seen the hand of Providence so signally 
manifested as in the events of this war. He replied 
in a very characteristic way : " Well, Mrs. Child, 
when the job is done up, I hope it will prove credit- 
able to Providence." My own belief is that it will. 
Think of Victor Hugo's writing a tragedy with John 
Brown for its hero ! A French John Brown ! It is 
too funny. I wonder what the old captain himself 
would think of it if he were present in Paris at its 
representation. I fancy he would be as much sur- 
prised at the portraiture as would the honest wife of 
Joseph the carpenter, with her troop of dark-eyed 
girls and boys, Joses and James and Jude, etc., if 
she were told that the image of the " immaculate 


Virgin " Mary, with spangled robe and tinselled 
crown, was a likeness of her. 


Wayland, 1863. 
I am glad your Philadelphia campaign proved so 
glorious. I hope you will enjoy many such. After 
all, I think the careful housewife was the largest ele- 
ment in your good time at Philadelphia. The older 
I grow the more I respect the " careful Marthas." 
I would rather have one for a household companion 
than ten devout and contemplative Marys. They 
did very well in the days when saints went barefoot 
and wore a perennial suit of hair-cloth : but the Mar- 
thas are decidedly preferable in these days of nicely- 
ironed linen, daily renewed, and stockings so flimsy 
that they need continual looking after. Devout, 
poetic saints must have careful Marthas to provide 
for them if they would be comfortable themselves, or 
be able to promote the happiness of others. Mr. 

S says his wife is a careful Martha. I wonder 

what would have become of him and the boys if she 
had been of the Mary pattern. All hail to the care- 
ful Marthas ! say I. If I had one I would kiss her 
very shoe-ties. 


WAYLAND, 1863. 

Was n't I as proud as a peacock, and did n't it 
make me spread all my feathers, to have a " pair o' 
vairses " written to me in my old age ? and such 
verses, too ! Seriously, dear friend, I was never so 
touched and so pleased by any tribute in my life. I 
cried over the verses, and I smiled over them. I 

• LETTERS. 175 

wanted to show them to everybody ; but I did n't 
dare to show them to anybody — they were so com- 
plimentary. I knew I didn't deserve them; bat I 
also knew that you thought I did, and that made me 


They cannot know, who only know 

Thy wise sweet written word, 
Whose willing ears thy genial flow 

Of speech have never heard, 

Who have not in thy soul's true face 

Traced each familiar line, — 
The spirit's all informing grace 

That moulds a life like thine. 

But I, beloved, who have read, 

As one God's book who reads, 
The power by purest purpose shed 

O'er homeliest ways and deeds ; 

Who know thy love's most royal power, 

With largesse free and brave, 
Which crowns thee helper of the poor, 

The suffering and the slave ; 

Yet springs as freely and as warm 

To greet the near and small, 
The prosy neighbor at the farm, 

The squirrel on the wall ; 

Which strengthens thee in hope to bear 

And toil and strive alone, 
And lift another's load of care, 

While wearied 'neath thine own ; 


So apt to know, so wise to guide, 

So tender to redress, — 
O friend, with whom such charms abide, 

How can I love thee less ? 

E. S. 


Watland, July, 1863. 
Oh, darling ! darling ! if the newspaper rumor be 
true, 1 what I have so long dreaded has come upon 
you. But rumor very often exaggerates and some- 
times invents ; so I still hope, though with a heart 
that bleeds for you. If the report be true, may our 
Heavenly Father sustain you under this heavy sor- 
row. Severe as the blow must be, it is not altogether 
without consolation. If your beautiful and brave boy 
has died, he died nobly in the defence of great prin- 
ciples, and he has gone to join the glorious army of 
martyrs ; and how much more sacred and dear to 
memory is such a life and such a death, than a life 
spent in self-indulgence, gradually impairing the 
health and weakening the mental powers. Your 
darling Robert made the most of the powers and ad- 
vantages God had given him by consecrating them to 
the defence of freedom and humanity. Such a son 
in the spirit-world is worth ten living here for them- 
selves alone. Besides, dear, the separation is only for 
a little while. You parted from him a young man, 
but rendered thoughtful and anxious beyond his years 
by reason of the heavy responsibilities that devolved 
upon him. You will meet him a serene angel, en- 
dowed with larger vision and better understanding 
why it is that we are doomed to suffer here. Ah, 
darling, my words fall coldly upon your bereaved 
1 Report of the death of Colonel Robert G. Shaw. 


heart. God comfort you ! He alone can carry you 
through this dark passage. He has given you beau- 
tiful little grandchildren to love, and I trust their 
soft arms will help to bear you up. Most sincerely 
do I wish that my old life could have been sacrificed 
to save your brave and beautiful boy. But the Heav- 
enly Father ordereth all things in wisdom and in 
mercy, too ; as we should acknowledge if we could 
only see the end from the beginning. 

In your last but one you wrote as if I might think 
you did not pity me enough. I was going to answer 
that you pitied me more than enough ; more than I 
pity myself. I was going to ask you what was my 
misfortune 1 compared with that of the poor wretches 
driven from their homes by murderous mobs ; or what 
was it compared with the anxiety of a mother whose 
only son was leading a colored regiment into South 
Carolina. But now in view of this terrible rumor, 
how utterly insignificant and contemptible seem all 
my troubles ! I thank Mrs. Gay very much for her 
hearty sympathy ; but tell her that at a crisis like 
this it is merely as if a mosquito had stung me. 

Ought I not to be taking care of the sick and 
wounded soldiers ? Sometimes that thought worries 
me. Yours with a heart brimful of love and sym- 


July, 1863. 

Words are inadequate to express what I feel for 
you. The same faith that made you willing to sac- 
rifice your only son in defence of righteous principles 
will help to sustain you under this sorrowful bereave- 
ment. But oh, how hard it would be for our poor 

1 A fire had burned a part of her house. 


human hearts, were it not for the hope of reunion in 
that other world, where all the shocking discords are 
resolved into harmony ! 

Dear friend, I herewith return you the remaining 
check for two hundred dollars. Since those horrible 
New York mobs, I cannot keep it with an easy con- 
science. Do not understand me as returning it to 
you, but to your fund for the relief of poor wretches 
whose need is so much greater than mine. Besides 
this feeling, there are other personal considerations 
which, in part, induce me to return your bounty. I 
have met with two unexpected lucky incidents. I 
have also just recovered fifty dollars which I sup- 
posed was lost by the failure of my bookseller. I 
also hope to make three or four hundred dollars by 
my forthcoming book for old people. 

Under these circumstances, I think you will see 
that I ought not to receive help when there are so 
many sufferers in the land who need it more than I 
do. You will see that it is not pride, dearest friend, 
but conscience. Never, never shall I forget your 
kindness in sending it. It did me a world of good, 
when I felt so stunned and desolate. But I am get- 
ting bravely over all that now. I reproach myself for 
having cared so much about a home, when so many 
homes are ruthlessly broken up. The debris of a 
fire is bad, but what is it compared with the desola- 
tion wrought by a mob ? I am most sincerely sorry 
for James Gibbons and his family. 1 Miss Osgood told 
me they had one room consecrated to interesting 
souvenirs of their lost Willie. How dreadful it must 
have been to have that pillaged by a mob I 

1 Mr. Gibbons's house in New York city was gutted by the mob 
during the draft riots of July, 1P63. 



WAYLAND, 1864. 

I joyfully hailed the sight of your hand-writing; 
more joyfully even than usual; because I conjectured 
that you would write about the biography of Theo- 
dore Parker. It is an inspiring book, making one 
feel that there is nobleness in the battle of life when 
a true man girds on his armor for the fight. This 
record confirms my impression that Theodore Parker 
was the greatest man, morally and intellectually, 
that our country has ever produced. The manner in 
which the book is made up is, I think, open to some 
criticism. In the first place, there is the general 
fault of containing too much. It seems to me that 
if one half, or at least one third, had been omitted, 
the remaining portion would have been more un- 
qualifiedly interesting. In the second place, the ar- 
rangement is not orderly. In the third place, the 
sentences of Mr. Weiss sometimes need studying to 
discover his meaning. I have great respect and ad- 
miration for Mr. Weiss, but I do not like his style. 
I often wish that his large and noble thoughts were 
expressed with more simplicity. He reminds me of 
an anecdote of Mr. Berrien of Georgia. A stranger, 
who had just been hearing Foote of Mississippi speak 
in Congress, remarked to Mr. Berrien, " Foote has 
great command of language." " On the contrary," 
replied Berrien, " I think language has great command 
of him." I think scorn of simplicity and directness 
is the crying sin of writers of the present day. 



WAYLAND, 1864. 

Another encouraging thing is the marvellous and 
constantly increasing change in public opinion on the 
subject of slavery. Only think of George Thomp- 
son's speaking in the Halls of Congress, and of John 
Brown's Hallelujah being performed there ! Captain 

of the United States Navy, has been a bitter 

pro-slavery man, violent in his talk against abolition- 
ists and " niggers." He has been serving in the 
vicinity of New Orleans, and has come home on a 
furlough, an outspoken abolitionist. He not only 
says it in private, but has delivered three lectures 
in town, in which he has publicly announced the 
total change in his sentiments since he had "an op- 
portunity to know something on the subject." A 
few days ago he was going in the cars from Boston 
to Roxbury, when a colored soldier entered the car. 
Attempting to seat himself, he was repulsed by a 
white man, who rudely exclaimed, " I 'm not going to 
ride with niggers." Captain W., who sat a few seats 
farther forward, rose up, in all the gilded glory of his 
naval uniform, and called out, " Come here, my good 
fellow ! I 've been fighting alongside of people of 
your color, and glad enough I was to have 'em by my 
side. Come sit by me." Two years ago I would not 
have believed such a thing possible of him. So the 
work goes on in all directions. 

TO MRS. 6. B. S^HAW. 


I suppose you will hear of George Thompson while 
he is in New York, if you do not see him. How 


wonderful it is that he should be received in this 
manner, when twenty-nine years ago he had to hustle 
away privately to Halifax to take passage for Eng- 
land, because his life was in danger in our cities ! 
Now a great deal of the respectability of Boston 
unites with us to give him a grand reception, and his 
entrance is greeted with hurrahs ! 

" To-day abhorred, to-morrow adored, 
So round and round we run ; 
And ever the Truth comes uppermost, 
And ever is Justice done." 

I met Mr. Thompson at the Anti-slavery Office. 
In talking with him, I told him how wrathy I had 
been with England. " You should remember, Mrs. 
Child," said he, " how your cause was made to ap- 
pear in the eyes of the world. First, your President's 
inaugural was largely taken up with assurances that 
fugitive slaves would be returned to their masters, 
and that those who attempted to interfere would be 
punished ; secondly, two of your generals volunteered 
offers to put down insurrections of the slaves, should 
they try to obtain their freedom ; thirdly, slaves who 
escaped into your lines were sent back and cruelly 
scourged by the tyrants from whose power they had 
sought your protection ; fourthly, Mr. Seward charged 
Mr. Adams not to speak of slavery, and, through 
him, gave assurance that 8 the status of no class of 
people in America would be changed by the war ; ' 
fifthly, President Lincoln, after the war had contin- 
ued more than a year, offered the slave-holders a hun- 
dred days to consider whether they would come back 
with their chattels, or still fight for their independ- 
ence at the risk of the abolition of slavery. Was 
there anything in this to excite the enthusiasm of the 


English people about your war ? " I was obliged to 
confess that there was not, and that I had myself 
often apologized for the common people of England 
in that very way ; saying, I felt " sure their hearts 
would sympathize with any war for freedom and hu- 
manity." " Now that freedom appears to be the 
dominant idea, the common people of England do 
sympathize with you most heartily," replied he. " As 
for the aristocratic classes, a desire to see the grand 
experiment of a republic fail underlies all their hos- 
tility to the North." I admitted the truth of all this ; 
but after all, it must be remembered that our haughty 
step-dame England hastened to recognize the rebels 
as belligerents before we had given any of the alleged 
signs of subservience to slavery. Did you see Kings- 
ley's exultation over the idea that the pages he was 
writing might meet the eyes of that great hero and 
statesman, Jeff. Davis ? It was miserable twaddle, to 
say nothing of its want of principle. It does seem to 
me remarkable that the literary men of England 
should so favor a cause avowedly founded on despot- 


WATLAND, 1864. 

I wish there were not such a wall of partition be- 
tween us and the. animal world. It would be so cu- 
rious and entertaining to understand what they are 
about, and to help them in emergencies by our supe- 
rior strength and wisdom. The swallow's nest in the 
sitting-room chimney fell down a few days ago. Four 
of the little birds were dead, but one was alive and 
lusty, though its eyes were not yet opened. The 
mother, not knowing what to do, flew up chimney, 
and left it to its fate. I tried to feed it with flies on 


a pin ; but it was of no use. I did not understand its 
ways. The poor little thing scrambled round with so 
much energy, called its mother so loudly, and mani- 
fested such a determination to live, that it made me 
very sorry to be unable to help it. But it was better 
for it to die ; for if I had succeeded in bringing it up 
by hand, the foolish little thing would have been be- 
wildered in all its instincts, and never have known 
how to bring up a family. . . . One of the pictures, 
44 The Trumpeting Angel of Fra Angelico," charmed 
me extremely. But after all, the angels, I appre- 
hend, are something very superior to all that. We 
know as little about them and their ways as the 
chimney swallows know about us. Walls of partition 
rise up everywhere, above and below. 


WAYLAND, 1864. 

I am a happy woman since the election. 1 It makes 
me feel that our republican form of government rests 
on more secure foundations. There was no enthusi- 
asm for honest old Abe. There is no beauty in him, 
that men should desire him ; there is no insinuating, 
polished manner, to beguile the senses of the people ; 
there is no dazzling military renown ; no silver flow 
of rhetoric ; in fact, no glittering prestige of any kind 
surrounds him ; yet the people triumphantly elected 
him, in spite of all manner of machinations, and not- 
withstanding the long, long drag upon their patience 
and their resources which this war has produced. I 
call this the triumph of free schools ; for it was the 
intelligence and reason of the people that reelected 
Abraham Lincoln. He has his faults, and I have 

1 The second election of President Lincoln. 


sometimes been out of patience with him ; but I will 
say of him that I have constantly gone on liking him 
better and better. His recent reply to some people 
who serenaded him charmed me exceedingly. A 
most beautiful spirit pervaded it. As for Andy 
Johnson, he has completely taken me captive by his 
speech at Nashville. To think of that colored proces- 
sion going through the streets of Nashville, greeted 
from the windows with hurrahs, and waving of hats 
and handkerchiefs ! To think of the Vice President 
of the United States promising to be their Moses, to 
lead them out of bondage, telling them, "Remember 
they who would be free, themselves must strike the 
blow ! " And all this in Nashville where Amos 
Dresser, thirty years ago, was publicly flogged for 
having an abolition tract in his carpet-bag ! Then to 
think of Maryland wheeling into the circle of free 
States, with ringing of bells and waving of banners ! 
To think of the triumphal arch in the streets of Bal- 
timore, whereon, with many honored historical names, 
were inscribed the names of Benjamin Banneker and 
R. R. Forten, two colored men ! Glory to God ! 
This is marvellous progress. Glory to God ! Halle- 
lujah ! 

Miss Cobbe's introduction to the " Life of Theodore 
Parker " I like -extremely. It is a truly manly pro- 
duction ; thus we are obliged to compliment the " su- 
perior sex " when we seek to praise our own. I have 
also been reading her "Broken Lights." Her analysis 
of the present state of the churches is very clear and 
complete. Concerning her " Church of the Future " 
I am more doubtful. Sterne says, very truly, " A 
philosophic religion is fit for philosphers only." Miss 
Cobbe, and minds that are kindred to hers, will be 


satisfied with the " internal consciousness of God ; " 
but will the masses of men ever arrive at that height ? 
For myself, I think the church of the future is to be 
a church of deeds, not of doctrines of any kind. Men 
will combine together to work for each other, as 
children of the Universal Father ; and these combina- 
tions will be to them as churches. 


Watland, 1865. 

I thank you for your two right pleasant letters. 
I have several times been amused at being charged 
with totally different deficiencies by different people. 
You accuse me of " being indifferent to externals," 
whereas the common charge against me is that I 
think too much of beauty, and say too much about it. 
I myself think it is one of my greatest weaknesses. 
A handsome man, woman, or child, can always make 
a fool and a pack-horse of me. My next neighbor's 
little boy has me completely under his thumb, merely 
by virtue of his beautiful eyes and sweet voice. 

I have been a very happy woman since this year 
came in. My Sunset book 1 has had most unexpected 
success. The edition of 4,000 sold before New Year's 
Day, and they say they might have sold 2,000 more if 
they had been ready. This pleases me beyond meas- 
ure, for the proceeds, whether more or less, were 
vowed to the freedmen ; and cheering old folks with 
one hand, and helping the wronged and suffering 
with the other, is the highest recreation I ever en- 
joyed. Nobles or princes cannot discover, or invent, 
any pleasure equal to earning with one hand and 
giving with the other. I seldom have a passing wish 

1 Looking towards Sunset. From Sources Old and New, Original and 
Selected. By L. Maria Child. Boston, 1864. 


for enlarged means except for the sake of doing 
more for others. My own wants are very few and 
simple. I am glad you approve of the book. I 
am not surprised that the " Mysterious Pilgrimage " 
seemed to you " fanciful." You know there is a 
practical side and a poetic side to me. In a book de- 
signed for general readers, I thought it best to show 
both sides. What most pleases one class of readers 
will be less pleasing to others. I am surprised that 
you say nothing about Bernard Palissy. He is per- 
fectly charming to me. My prime object in making 
the Sunset book was to present old people with 
something wholly cheerful. Human nature, as the 
years pass on, more and more requires cheerful influ- 
ences. Memory has a superabounding stock of sad- 
ness for all, and any addition to it in books or con- 
versation is an unwelcome excess. To everything 
there is a bright side and a dark side ; and I hold it 
to be unwise, unphilosophic, unkind to others, and 
unhealthy for one's own soul, to form the habit of 
looking on the dark side. Cheerfulness is to the 
spiritual atmosphere what sunshine is to the earthly 
landscape. I am resolved to cherish cheerfulness 
with might and main. 

William C. Bryant wrote me a charming note 
about the book.* I will quote part of it to you, be- 
cause I know you like to hear of anything pleasant 
that happens to me. He says : " My dear Mrs. 
Child, you are like some artists, who excel in ' sun- 
set ' views. You give the closing stage of human 
life an atmosphere of the richest lights and warmest 
hues, and make even its clouds add to its glory. My 
wife and I have read your book with great delight." 
And while I am talking of the pleasant things that 


have happened to me lately I will ask, "What do 
you think I had for a New Year's present ? " Mrs. 
L., bless her kind soul ! sent me Milmore's bust of 
Charles Sumner. Now the fact is, I had a private 
longing for that bust, though I never mentioned it 
to any mortal. I did once think about inquiring the 
price ; but I remembered the freedmen and the sol- 
diers, and resolved not to put myself in the way of 
temptation. It is not only a good likeness, but it is 
a wonderfully speaking likeness, full of the noble 
soul of the man. 


April 8, 1865. 

We must not forget that all great revolutions and 
reformations would look mean and meagre if exam- 
ined in detail as they occurred at the time. We talk 
of Constantine as the " Christian " Emperor ; but it 
is more than doubtful whether he ever adopted, or 
even understood, the first principles of Christianity. 
The converts to the new religion had become so 
numerous that they were an element of power ; and 
if he did not avail himself of their influence, rivals 
would. If their church could prop up his throne, he 
was very willing it should become the religion of the 

If we examine into the Protestant reformation we 
shall find that the sincere and earnest men engaged 
in it bore no greater proportion to the time-serving 
and self-seeking than do the thorough anti-slavery 
men to the politicians of our own time. And then 
what base agents helped on that great work ! Who 
would have supposed that Henry the Eighth could 
have been turned to any good account ? It is mar- 


vellous by how small a force this world is moved, in 
point of numbers, when God is on their side. Still 
more wonderful is it to observe what poor, mean 
cattle God yokes to the car of progress, and makes 
them draw in a direction they are striving to avoid. 
It has been most strikingly illustrated in the course 
of this war. The details are often ludicrous exhibi- 
tions of human inconsistency and selfishness, but the 
result is a sublime manifestation of an overruling 


Watland, 1865. 

I received a letter last week from William H. 
Charming, in acknowledgment of funds sent to the 
freedmen in his department. He is the same infinite 
glow that he was when he took my heart captive 
twenty years ago. He writes : " You ought to have 
been in Congress on the ever-to-be-remembered 31st 
of January 1865. 1 Such an outburst of the people's 
heart has never been seen in the Capitol since the na- 
tion was born. It was the sunrise of a new day for 
the republic. I was standing by John Jay, and as 
we shook hands over the glorious vote I could not 
but say, ' Are not our fathers and grandfathers here 
with us ? The*y surely must be here to share our 
joy in thus gathering the fruit of which they planted 
the seed.' Yes ! and our blessed, great-hearted Theo- 
dore Parker was there, with a band of witnesses. 
Selah ! " 

1 The day on which the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitu- 
tion, abolishing slavery in the United States, passed the House of 
Representatives, and (having previously passed the Senate) went to 
the Legislatures of the several States for ratification. 


Yesterday I walked up to see Mr. and Mrs. S., 
where I have not been for a year. He is full of the 
great Convocation of Unitarians at New York, to 
which he is sent as delegate. He seems to think it 
will be very easy to settle "a few fundamental prin- 
ciples, in which all can agree, while sufficient room 
for progress will be left in unsettled minor opinions." 
But his very first " fundamental principle " concern- 
ing the divine origin of Jesus puts up a bar that stops 
the chariot wheels. There is a large class of minds 
that cannot see in Unitarianism a mere half-way 
house, where spiritual travellers find themselves well 
accommodated for the night, but where they grow 
weary of spending the day. And many of them will 
not even spend a night there, when they discover a 
new road, so shortened and straightened, that when 
they want to call upon the Father, they are under no 
necessity of going roundabout to call upon the Son*. 



You were curious to know who it was that offered 
to pay $1,800 for the redemption of Thomas Sims. 
It was Major-General Devens, who was United States 
marshal at the time of the rendition of Sims. He 
made the offer unasked; and when Sims found his 
way North again he sent him, through me, $100 to 
assist him till he could get into business. It seems 
to me a singularly noble proceeding. I suppose 
that his idea of the necessity of sustaining law, and 
his great admiration of Daniel Webster, led him to 
do what pained his heart at the time and troubled 
his conscience afterward. But you would rarely find 
a man who would atone so nobly for an error. Now 


that the war is over, and slavery is abolished, I think 
his reason for enjoining secresy no longer exists. 
When I urged upon him that the moral influence of 
the action might do good, he did not renew his prohi- 
bition. In a recent letter to me he expresses great 
satisfaction that he has been enabled to take an act- 
ive part in the struggle that has resulted in the 
emancipation of the slaves. How I wish that your 
darling Robert had survived to look back upon the 
Revolution as a thing completed, and to glory in his 
share of it ! Yet perhaps it would not have been bet- 
ter so. I am glad it is proposed to erect a statue to 
him in Boston ; but I hope they will not place it in 
the vicinity of Daniel Webster. If Webster had 
done his duty, there would have been no storming of 
Fort Wagner. 



I agree with Garrison in thinking the Anti-Slavery 
Society had better dissolve when the States have rat- 
ified the amendment to the Constitution. But I 
think they ought to form themselves into a society for 
the protection of the freedmen. Those old slave- 
holders will " act like Cain " as long as they live. 
They will try to discourage, misrepresent, and harass 
the emancipated slave in every way, in order to pre- 
vent the new system of things from working well, 
just as the Jamaica planters did. It will not do to 
trust the interests of the emancipated to compromis- 
ing politicians ; their out-and-out radical friends must 
mount guard over them. 



Wayland, February 13, 1866. 
It takes Germans to make pictures of real, all-alive 
children, because they are an honest, child-like na- 
tion. The French make graceful puppets and fash- 
ionable dolls. I have laughed and laughed over that 
little book, and I dare say the sight of it will have 
a cheering influence all the year through, whenever 
1 am inclined to be sad. It will be like having a 
play with children, with the great advantage of put- 
ting them away when I like. The literary portion of 
it is not above my comprehension, with the exception 
of three or four words which I suppose to be baby 
lingo. I thank your dear mother very much for the 
beautiful statuette. The more I look at it, the more 
I am impressed with the genius indicated by the con- 
ception and execution of the group. That craving for 
beauty lies too deep in my nature ever to be uprooted. 
Speaking of beauty, I wish you could have seen our 
great elm-tree, one morning, when a cold night had 
completely incrusted it with the frozen vapor of the 
preceding warm day. Such great branches of pearls 
and diamonds lifted up high in the air, with the dark- 
est and clearest blue sky for a back-ground. I am a 
great admirer of winter scenery, but never in my life 
have I seen anything so beautiful as that. I shouted 
again and again, and I would have run two miles to 
have caught a poet to come and shout .with me. 
David admired it greatly, and. made divers superb 
comparisons in a quiet, philosophic way, but I 
could n't get him up to the shouting point. 



Watland, JaDuary, 1866. 

I was greatly refreshed by your affectionate letter 
about " The Freedmen's Book." I live so entirely 
apart from the world that when I publish anything 
I rarely see or hear anything about the effect it pro- 
duces. I sent the slave-holders, the year before the 
war, over twelve hundred copies of " The Right Way 
the Safe Way," directed them with my own hand, and 
paid the postage out of my own purse ; and I received 
but one response. I had a feeling that such a book 
as the " Freedmen's Book " was needed at the pres- 
ent time and might do good. In order to adapt it 
carefully for them, I ivrote over two hundred letter 
pages of manuscript copy ; and then, despairing of 
getting it published, I paid $600 to get it through 
the press ; which sum, if it ever returns, will be a 
fund to help in the education of the freedmen and 
their children. I have done what I could, and I hope 
a blessing will rest upon it. That you approve of it 
so heartily is one guaranty that it will be useful. 


Watland, 1866. 

It seems a long while since I received your very 
lively letter. 

With regard to the comparative value of novels 
and sermons, you go farther for your side than I could 
go for mine. You confess to enjoying "a dullish ser- 
mon." I cannot wade through a dullish novel. A 
third-rate one I never read, unless I read it aloud, to 
oblige some one else ; and I can scarcely tolerate even 
second-rate ones. A first-rate novel I do enjoy bet- 


ter than any other reading. I like them better now 
than I did in my youth ; partly because the need of 
being entertained grows upon people in general as 
the sad experiences of life multiply, and partly be- 
cause I live so much in solitude that pictures of so- 
ciety supply, in some degree, the place of society. I 
agree with you entirely with regard to public teach- 
ing at stated seasons. I think all classes of minds 
would be benefited by it. What I complain of is 
that they do not really get teaching. The habits and 
wants of society have changed, and preaching has not 
sufficiently changed with them. 

Very little of the preaching is adapted to the 
wants of any class of minds. When people hear true 
living words spoken concerning the things they are 
doing and the thoughts they are thinking, they hear 
the words gladly. The magnetic power of Theodore 
Parker and Henry Ward Beecher, I think, is largely 
to be attributed to the fact that they meet the popu- 
lar mind on its own plane instead of addressing it 
from a height. I do not want to see preaching abol- 
ished, but I do want to see its sphere enlarged. 
There must be some cause for the prevailing and 
ever-increasing feeling of its insufficiency. As for 
me, after struggling much with my disinclination to 
attend meeting, I have given up the contest. 

I have n't, for years, attended any anti-slavery 
meetings, or lectures of any sort ; I have such a dread 
of the constraint. Then, one has to go through so 
much to get so little at any of the conventions or 
great gatherings ! It is necessary to listen to half- 
a-dozen commonplace speeches before a good one 
comes on. It is " swimming through the Mediterra- 



nean to catch a smelt," as old Dr. Allyne used to 

I hope you have seen Bierstadt's " Storm on the 
Rocky Mountains." I went to look at it when I was 
last in Boston, and I wanted to stay all day ; though 
I had an impression that the rain would pour down 
from those clouds, and the lightning flash through 
them, if I stayed there long. Such clouds I did not 
suppose to be possible on canvas. They seemed so 
distinctly to roll away that I was surprised to look up 
and find them still there. 


WAYLAND, 1867. 

Your anti-slavery sketches 1 carry me back pleas- 
antly to those bygone days when our souls were 
raised above the level of common life by the glorious 
inspiration of unselfish zeal. It seems but a little 
while ago, and yet men speak of it as a " dead sub- 
ject," so swiftly the world whirls round, carrying us, 
and all memory of us, with it ! 

In your very kind notice of me, you have exagger- 
ated some things, and omitted others. I don't think 
I lost so much "per annum " by espousing the anti- 
slavery cause. At all events, I think the indefinite 
statement that my literary prospects were much in- 
jured by it would have been better. With regard to 
society, I was a gainer decidedly ; for though the re- 
spectables, who had condescended to patronize me, 
forthwith sent me " to Coventry," anti-slavery intro- 

1 Some Recollections of our Anti-Slavery Conflict, by Samuel J. May. 
Boston, 1869. At the time this letter was written, however, they 
were appearing in regular installments in the Christian Register of 


duced me to the noblest and best of the land, intellect- 
ually and morally, and knit us together in that firm 
friendship which grows out of sympathy in a good 
but unpopular cause. Besides, it is impossible to es- 
timate how much one's own character gains by a war- 
fare which keeps the intellect wide awake, and com- 
pels one to reflect upon moral principles. I was quite 
surprised, one day, by a note from the trustees of the 
Boston Athenaeum, offering me the free use of the 
library, the same as if I owned a share. ... I had 
never asked such a favor, and I am not aware that 
any friend of mine had ever solicited it. My husband 
was anti-slavery, and it was the theme of many of 
our conversations while Garrison was in prison. 
About the time of the unexpected attention from the 
trustees, Mr. Garrison came to Boston, and I had a 
talk with him. Consequently the first use I made of 
my Athenaeum privilege was to take out some books 
on that subject, with a view to writing my " Ap- 
peal." A few weeks after the " Appeal " was pub- 
lished, I received another note from the trustees, in- 
forming me that at a recent meeting they had passed 
a vote to take away my privilege, lest it should prove 
an inconvenient precedent ! 


Watland, 1868. 
I did receive the " Breviary," but I had no idea of 
its coming from you. ... I might answer your in- 
quiries with some roundabout polite equivocation, 
but that is not my way. So I will e'en tell the plain 
truth. I never liked any of that sort of books. I 
would never reflect at all, if I had " Reflections for 
Every Day in the Year " marked out for me. I have 


a strong resistance to all sorts of ritual. Moreover, 
this book of Scheffer's seems to me uncommonly lu- 
gubrious of its kind. I read a few of the poems, and 
they made me feel so forlorn that I hastened to hide 
the book away in a receptacle that I keep for things 
not cheerful to read, and consequently not profitable 
to lend. The world is so full of sadness that I more 
and more make it a point to avoid all sadness that 
does not come within the sphere of my duty. 

I read only " chipper" books. I hang prisms in my 
windows to fill the room with rainbows ; I gaze at all 
the bright pictures in shop windows ; I cultivate the 
gayest flowers ; I seek cheerfulness in every possible 
way. This is my " necessity in being old." Then 
you know I never did like the things that " good 
people" like. Ritual was always antagonistic to my 
temperament ; it interferes with my free-will, and my 
free-will grows more rampant every year I live. And 
now having blown my blast against the " saint's " 
book, I thank you sincerely for your friendly inten- 
tion in sending-it; that I shall cherish in my memory 
though I consign the book to oblivion. The poems 
are certainly pure, solid good sense ; dreadful solid. 


WAYLAND, 1868. 

In our climate what a misnomer it is to call this 
season spring ! very much like calling Calvinism re- 
ligion. I don't care, I insist upon being glad that I 
was born in Massachusetts. As for anybody that 
prefers to have been born among mosquitoes and cop- 
perheads down South, or where the sun sets behind 
the Golden Gate, why let them go and be born again. 
I, being rather a Puritanic person, stand by old Mas- 


sachusetts, if she is covered with snow in April. To 
speak seriously, I do think our climate is changing. 
For many years I have noticed that winter extends 
farther into spring than it used to do when I was 
young. They say that tusks of ivory dug up in 
Onalaska prove that region to have once been in the 
tropical zone. If so, perhaps we also are steering 
for the North Pole. It is comforting to know that I 
shall not be on board when the old ship Massachu- 
setts anchors among the icebergs. That "precession 
of the equinoxes " is a mysterious business. What it 
is going to do with this earth of ours I don't know. 


Watland, July 30, 1868. 

As you and Mr. Sewall are one, and he is too 
busy to read rhapsodical letters, I will write to you 
to thank him for " The Gypsy," and I do thank 
him most fervently. I think some good brownie 
helps you two to find out what I most want. I have 
been hankering after that " Spanish Gypsy " and 
trying to borrow it, but I did not hint that to you, 
knowing your lavish turn of mind. Some of my 
friends think I make an exaggerated estimate of the 
author of " Adam Bede," but I have long ranked her 
as the greatest among women intellectually, and the 
moral tone of her writings seems to me always pure 
and elevated. I never expected to enjoy a poem 
again so much as I -enjoyed " Aurora Leigh," but I 
think the Gypsy is fully equal, if not superior. I read 
it through at first ravenously, all aglow ; then I read 
it through a second time slowly and carefully, to taste 
every drop of the sparkling nectar. The artistic 
construction cannot be too highly praised, and it is 


radiant throughout with poetic light. . . . That won- 
derful glorification of the juggler's exhibition made 
me so wild with delightful excitement that my soul 
heard the music, saw the transfiguring light of the 
setting sun, and went leaping through the dance with 
Fedalma. It is an immortal picture in my gallery 
for the other world. 


Wayland, February 11, 1869. 
Dear Friend of old times and of all times: 

To-day I am sixty-seven years old. Living out of 
the world as I do, and keeping few holy-days, I have 
formed the habit of consecrating this day in my small 
way. When I feel like praying, I pray ; and I gen- 
erally do on this anniversary, so full of memories of 
the past, and of aspirations for the future, stretching 
into the eternal world. I look at the photographs of 
my intimate friends always with a swelling heart, 
but for the purpose of recalling everything pleasant 
associated with them, not to indulge in mourning for 
those who are separated from me by time, distance, 
or change of existence. 

A few nights ago, after the sun had set, the broad 
sheet of ice on the meadows was all roseate . and 
glowing with the reflected light. I strive to realize 
this in the state of my own soul. My sun is setting, 
and the ice of age is gathering around me, but light 
from above and warm flushes of memory fall on the 
wintry landscape and make it beautiful. . . . 

I formerly thought that the New Church opened 
for us a view of the eternal city with its gold and 
precious gems. It was a pleasant vision, and it did 
much to help the growth of my soul ; but happy as 


the state was, I would not go back to it if I could. I 
have stumbled over much in cold and darkness since 
then, but I know that also is one of the appointed 
means of growth. We do not choose our states, they 
come upon us. The best we can do is to reverently 
follow all the truth it is given us to see at any time. 
My faith in theological doctrines of any kind has 
diminished almost to vanishing, but my faith in eter- 
nal principles has grown ever stronger and stronger, 
and more and more humble and reverent is my desire 
to embody them in my life. . . . 

I still think that Fourier was a great prophet of 
the future. I am convinced that this troublesome 
knot of employers and employed can never be disen- 
tangled except by some process of association which 
shall apportion some manual labor to all, and some 
culture and recreation to all. . . . The peace of God 
be with you all ! 


Watland, 1869. 

The music-box arrived safely, and I thank you from 
my inmost heart for thinking of your old friend, and 
wishing to give her pleasure. The old music-box is 
very dear to me. Its powers are limited, but what it 
does say it says very sweetly ; and the memories it 
sings to me are the dearest of all. . . . 

We had quite a glorification here over Grant's 
election. We had a really handsome procession of 
five hundred men bearing flags and gay-colored lan- 
terns, and attended by a band of music from Boston. 
I had no idea they would come up so far as our house ; 
but as we had subscribed, as they thought, liberally, 
they concluded to pay us that compliment. When 


we heard the sounds coming nearer and nearer, and 
saw the first torches pass our nearest neighbor's, I 
tore open the curtains, and scrambled to place four- 
teen lights in the front windows ; being all I could 
get up on such short notice. Then I went to the 
front door and waved a great white cloth, and joined 
in the hurrahs of the procession like a " strong- 
minded " woman as I am. The fact is, I forget half 
the time whether I belong to the stronger or weaker 

While I was demonstrating at one door, David was 
exercising his lungs at another. A crowd of foreign- 
ers were following the procession in a discomfited 
state of mind, and seeing us so jubilant they called 
out, " Three cheers for the nigger President ! " a 
curious title to bestow on Grant, who has never mani- 
fested the slightest interest in the colored people. 
But I don't want him to be a " nigger President." 
I simply want him to see that equal justice is admin- 
istered to all classes of people, and I have great hopes 
he will do that. So unpretending a man must be 
substantially good and honest, I think. However, I 
did not shout from such enthusiasm for him so much 
as I did from a feeling of relief that we were rid of 


Wayland, 1869. 

I have read a good man} 7 of Taine's papers on Art, 
and always with great zest. His descriptions of 
Venice in " Les Deux Mondes " is wonderfully glow- 
ing and poetic. It was almost like seeing that city 
of enchantment. Max Muller's " Chips " I have 
never seen. The greatest extravagance I have com- 
mitted for years was buying his " Science of Lan- 


guage," price seven dollars, as a birthday present for 
my philological mate. His habit of digging for the 
origin of words has proved contagious, and he often 
expresses surprise at the help my quick guesses af- 
ford him in his patient researches. I resolutely read 
Max Miiller's " Science of Language," and picked 
up a good many new ideas and valuable suggestions; 
but to read it with full understanding required a 
great deal more learning than I possess. 

A friend is accustomed to say that my " bark is 
worse than my bite ; " and it is something so with 
regard to my theological intolerance. For instance, 
I have given yearly to the American Missionary As- 
sociation, ever since emancipation, twenty dollars a 
year, to help them support a teacher among the freed- 
men, true blue orthodox. Yet when I proposed to 
them to aid me in the circulation of my " Freed- 
men's Book," offering them several hundred volumes 
at the mere cost of materials, they were not willing 
to do it unless they could be allowed to cut out 
several articles, and in lieu thereof insert orthodox 
tracts about " redeeming blood," etc. Yet my book 
contained not one sectarian word, except here and 
there an orthodox phrase in articles written by col- 
ored people. I do sincerely believe that all creeds 
which make faith in doctrines of more importance 
than the practice of morality have an injurious effect 
on character, and I abominate them. 

One of my neighbors told me there was a bio- 
graphical sketch of me in the " Christian Register," 
copied from the " Chicago Tribune." But I did not 
wish to see it, haying a great aversion to newspaper 
publicity. I care a good deal what my friends think 
of my performances, but I am singularly indifferent 


to notices of the press. They are so indiscriminate, 
and so much done up in a spirit of trade between 
publishers and editors, that they have little value. 
I do not see the " Westminster Review," but I care 
very little about being " respectfully cited " in it. 
The same honor befalls hundreds below the level 
of mediocrity. I think few things are more incon- 
venient and disagreeable than being a " small " lion. 
One loses the advantage of complete obscurity, with- 
out attaining to the advantages of great fame. If 
what I have written has been the means of doing any 
good in the world, I am thankful ; but as for per- 
sonal gratification in receiving, as a lion, what you 
call " the homage of smaller animals," I have none. 
All I want is to be left in peace to do quietly the 
work which my hands find to do. 

I agree with you in thinking that there are many 
good things in the article, " New Chapter of Christian 
Evidences," in the " Atlantic." But if Christianity 
is, as the writer says, better adapted for a universal 
religion than any other, is it not simply because 
Christianity is an accretion of all the antecedent re- 
ligious aspirations of mankind ? How many rivulets 
of thought had been flowing from various parts of 
the world, and through continuous ages, all drawn 
toward each other by the extension of the Roman 
Empire ! And in the midst of those gathering tides 
stood Paul ! He was the man, by whose agency a 
Jewish reformation was widened into a world-religion. 
All the world being represented in the system, it may 
well be better adapted for a universal religion than 
any of its component parts. But it is still receiving 
accretions from present inspirations, and so it will go 
on. Swedenborg has not established a " new church," 


but he has greatly modified the old one. I opine 
that Paul wo aid recognize in the teachings of our 
day few of the distinctive features of Christianity as 
it presented itself to his mind. It is curious to read 
the sermons that were admired a hundred years ago, 
and compare them with the preaching of the present 
day. What congregations would now be edified by 
the thunder of those old guns of the Gospel ? There 
is not a parish that would hear them as " candidates." 


WATLAND, 1869. 

I wish you joy of your " new Greek grammar." I 
eschew all grammars, because I cannot receive their 
contents by intuition. Perhaps if you were to con- 
fine your investigation to the Greek article, you 
would find it -more " entertaining, ' but still the re- 
sult might not be satisfactory. I have read of a 
German philologist who expended the diligent labor 
of a long life on the study of the Greek article, and 
on his deathbed he said to his son, " Take warning by 
my example. Do not undertake too much. I ought 
to have confined myself to the dative case." 

I cordially agree with the praises of " Unspoken 
Sermons." They are the only kind that interest me. 

I was amused by the prematureness of Aggy ; but 
of all the children I ever heard of, Susan L 's eld- 
est daughter has manifested the most precocious fore- 
cast. When she was about six years old, her father, 
in reading the newspaper aloud, read of a workman in 
a manufactory whose arm had been shockingly torn 
by the machinery. They did not suppose the little 
one understood it, or took any notice of it, but when 
she was put to bed she began to cry bitterly. When 


her mother asked what was the matter, she burst out 
vehemently, " Oh, what if I should marry a machine 
man? What should I do?" "Don't cry about 
that, dear," replied her mother, trying to repress 
laughter, " Perhaps you won't be married." " Oh 
yes I shall ! " exclaimed the little Mary (who ought 
to have been named the little Martha) ; " They will 
marry me to a machine man ; and then, if he tears 
his arm, I sha'n't know what to do." She is now 
fifteen or sixteen, and is always betraying the same 
forecasting tendencies. She has learned to swim, and 
is very expert in the water. A little while ago she 
swam up to a child on the bank of the river and 
said, " Please get on my back, and let me carry you 
across. I want to see if I could save you, if we should 
be aboard the same ship and get wrecked." The 
child consented, and Mary was exultant to find that 
she could swim with such a burden. 



Mrs. J , the author of " Linda," spent a couple 

of nights here a few weeks ago. She told me one 
little anecdote which reminded me of the Puritan sol- 
diers of old. She said that one day, during the war, 
she was gathering vegetables in the garden of the 
hospital where she was nursing the wounded. A 
soldier passed by, and seeing some roses in bloom he 
said, " Auntie, will you give me a rose ? " Mrs. 
J — — was sensitive about being called Auntie, that 
being the universal way of addressing middle-aged 
slaves. So she answered, " I will give you some roses 
with all my heart, for I am always willing to give 
anything to a soldier of the United States. Bat I am 


not your auntie ; your mother was not my sister." 
" Was n't she, though ? " rejoined the soldier. You 'd 
better ask General Christ about that. He was a great 
general, and I guess he would say that your mother 
was my mother's sister. My mother is a good woman. 
If you knew her, you would love her." Beautiful, 
was it not ? 


Watland, 1870. 
I thank you cordially for " M. Sylvestre." It is 
charmingly translated, in that free, flowing way 
that makes it seem as if it were written in English. 
It is far less exciting than " Consuelo " was, but it 
is very attractive, full of serene wisdom and gleams 
of simple beauty. I never can believe that George 
Sand is so debased and impure as many represent her 
to be. She may have committed grave errors, but I 
think they must have proceeded from the restless 
yearnings of unsatisfied affections, and the pursuit of 
an ideal which she could not find, rather than from 
unbridled sensuality. A woman of impure soul 
might write elaborate sentences in praise of virtue, 
but I deem it impossible for such a woman to write 
books that breathe such pure aspirations as many of 
hers do. And even her very worst ones, are they not 
true pictures of life as she has seen it in that false, 
corrupted France ? And is it not the sincerity of 
her nature, rather than any delight in uncleanness, 
which makes it impossible for her to gloss over the 
corruptions which she sees all around her? Some 
people are so constituted that they must " tell the 
truth, and shame the Devil." Then again, admitting 
that George Sand has been as licentious as some say, 


is it quite just to condemn her and her writings as 
irredeemably bad, while Burns's poems are in every 
family, and the anniversaries of his birthday are kept 
as if they were festivals in honor of a saint ? 



I promised to send you the lines I wrote about 
George Thompson in 1835. Here they are. Perhaps 
they will recall to you the feelings with which you 
used to listen to him in those old stirring times. 

I 've heard thee when thy powerful words 

Were like the cataract's roar, 
Or like the ocean's mighty waves 

Resounding on the shore. 

But, even in reproof of sin, 

Love brooded over all, 
As the mild rainbow's heavenly arch 

Rests on the waterfall. 

I 've heard thee in the hour of prayer, 

When dangers were around ; 
Thy voice was like the royal harp, 

That breathed a charmed sound. 

The evil spirit felt its power, 

And howling turned away ; 
And some, perchance, who " came to scoff, 

Remained with thee to pray." 

I 've seen thee, too, in playful mood, 

When words of magic spell 
Dropped from thy lips like fairy gems, 

That sparkled as they fell. 


Still great and good in every change, 

Magnificent and mild, 
As if a seraph's godlike power 

Dwelt in a little child. 


Watland, 1870. 

Dear and honored Mr. Sumner, — If I were to 
write to you every time the spirit moves me to thank 
you for some good thing you have done, you would 
have a very voluminous correspondence. I lay the 
flattering unction to my soul that I am a very en- 
lightened statesman, and my reasons for forming 
such a high opinion of myself are, that whenever I 
arrive at conclusions on any subjects which have oc- 
cupied my mind, you are always sure to indorse my 
views. Many a time, after reading your speeches or 
debates aloud, I have exclaimed, " There it is again ! 
You see Mr. Sumner says just what I have been hop- 
ing and expecting he would say." I differ from you 
often enough, however, to prove that my soul is my 

In your speech you say, "The oppressiveness of a 
tax is not to be measured by the insensibility of the 
people on whose shoulders it is laid. It is a curiosity 
of depotism that the people are too often unconscious 
of their slavery, as they are also unconscious of bad 
laws. A wise and just government measures its du- 
ties, not by what the people will bear without a mur- 
mur, but by what is most for their welfare." 

My dear Mr. Sumner, is not the same remark ap- 
plicable to the assertion that the elective franchise 
ought not to be bestowed on women until the major- 
ity of them demand it ? I have been often urged to 


write to you on what is called the " Woman Ques- 
tion," but I have foreborne, because I thought your 
shoulders (strong and willing as they are) were al- 
ready loaded with sufficient weight. Moreover, when 
I have perfect confidence in the moral and intellect- 
ual insight of a man, I am not desirous to hurry his 
conclusions. You are so organized that you cannot 
help following principles, wheresoever they may lead ; 
and, sooner or later, you will see clearly that our re- 
publican ideas cannot be consistently carried out 
while women are excluded from any share in the gov- 
ernment. I reduce the argument to very simple ele- 
ments. I pay taxes for property of my own earning 
and saving, and I do not believe in " taxation with- 
out representation." As for representation by proxy, 
that savors too much of the plantation-system, how- 
ever kind the master may be. I am a human being ; 
and every human being has a right to a voice in the 
laws which claim authority to tax him, to imprison 
him, or to hang him. The exercise of rights always 
has a more salutary effect on character than the en- 
joyment of privileges. Any class of human beings 
to whom a position of perpetual subordination is as- 
signed, however much they may be petted and flat- 
tered, must inevitably be dwarfed, morally and in- 

But I will not enlarge on the theme. For forty 
years I have keenly felt my limitations as a woman, 
and have submitted to them under perpetual and in- 
dignant protest. It is too late for the subject to be 
of much interest to me personally. I have walked in 
fetters all my pilgrimage, and now I have but little 
farther to go. But I see so clearly that domestic 
and public life would be so much ennobled by the 



perfect equality and companionship of men and 
women in all the departments of life, that I long to 
see it accomplished, for the order and well-being of 
the world. 



You say you sometimes think we should " be 
greatly strengthened if we could be sure of a real bond 
fide ' Thus saith the Lord.' " I don't think so. If it 
had been good for us, Divine Providence would have 
so ordered it. It is obviously a part of his plan that 
we should work our own passage through in the dark- 
ness, or rather by the far-off gleam of a few guiding 
stars, and it seems to me that in no other way could 
we become educated for a higher plane of existence. 
You are mainly anxious for this bond fide revelation 
on account of the ignorant masses, which you think 
" need to lean on authority." You need not be con- 
cerned on that score, my friend. Just so long as the 
multitude need to believe that Jesus was God, they 
will believe it. You and I could n't take that faith 
from them while it was a necessity of their souls, 
even if we wished to do it. Divine Providence takes 
care that neither the old material nor spiritual skin 
shall fall off till a new one has formed under it. All 
that any of us have to do is to follow, fearlessly and 
faithfully, the light within our own souls. In no 
other way can the individual so help the race. 

I doubtless have " more confidence in the common 
mind " than you have. I think I have historical 
ground for the confidence. Scientific progress begins 
with the educated ; spiritual progress always origi- 
nates with the unlearned. Look at Jesus and his 
fishermen ; at Luther and his peasant followers. The 



scholars and the gentry of England would never have 
abolished slavery. It was the mass of working-peo- 
ple that compelled government to take that great step 
in human progress ; and the movement has a similar 
history in this country. 


Watland, January 10, 1871. 

I thank you, from my heart, for your volume of 
beautiful poems, and for the kind inscription. But 
what is the world coming to when a plain-coated 
Friend dates " Christmas " instead of Twelfth Month ? 
If thou departest from the ancient testimonies in this 
way, friend John, thou wilt assuredly be dealt with. 
I am very indifferent to anything the world can give, 
either its pleasures or its honors ; and I am very little 
prone to envy, but I do envy you your wide-spread 
popularity, because it furnishes you with such ample 
means to scatter abroad the living seeds of goodness 
and truth. Thanks to the Heavenly Father, that the 
great opportunity fell into hands that used it so con- 
scientiously and so industriously ! For myself, I can- 
not accomplish much ; but I will try to deserve the 
acknowledgment, " She hath done what she could.'' 

One of my old-time friends sent me, for a New 
Year's present, a book on Siam, by an English lady 
who was for several years governess there, in the 
king's family. 1 I found it extremely interesting. I 
have long felt that we Christians greatly wronged the 
Buddhists. The precepts of Buddha are wonderfully 
large and holy. Whoever he was, he was a man that 
dwelt near unto God. His religion is overrun with 

1 An English Governess at the Siamese Court, by Mrs. A. H. Leono- 
wens. Boston, 1870. 


superstitions and ceremonies, but I doubt whether it is 
more so than the religion of Jesus in that very large 
part of Christendom where the Roman Catholic 
Church is established. Those who have not ex- 
amined into it curiously, as I have, are not aware 
how small a part of Christianity really emanated 
from Jesus or his apostles. It is a fact that troubles 
me not at all. If a truth is clear in my own soul, I 
care not that it has appeared to others in manifold 
varying aspects. I recognize and reverence an eter- 
nal principle, whatsoever garb it wears. What mat- 
ters it that the good and the true come to us through 
a foreign faith ? 

" Since everywhere the Spirit walks 
The garden of the heart, and talks 
With man, as under Eden's trees, 
In all his varied languages." 

Thank you for that broad lesson. You are bring- 
ing precious stones to build up the great church of 
the future, the church of the All-Father. May his 
blessing be with you now and forever ! 


Wayland, 1871. 
I wish I had known when your eightieth birthday 
was. I would have made a fuss on the occasion, I 
assure you. I have often been tempted to ask when 
your birthday was, but I always remembered what 
were your sister's first words when I called to see her 
after she had her fall : " Now don't go to muching 
me ! I don't like to be muched." I had an idea that 
you shared her aversion to being " muched," and so 
I concluded to let your birthday slide. I dare say, 
after all, that you were rather pleased with having 


the anniversary marked by so many kindly memori- 
als. For my part I am delighted to find a few flow- 
ers' on the mile-stones as I pass along. No matter how 
simple they are ; a buttercup is as good as a japonica; 
somebody placed it there who remembered I was go- 
ing by, and that is sufficient. 

What a blessing it was for that dear good man, 
S. J. May, to pass away in the full possession of his 
faculties, and surrounded by such an atmosphere of 
love and blessing. Friend Whittier, writing to me 
the other day, says : " How many sweet and precious 
memories I have of my intercourse with him ! Where 
is he now ? What is he doing and thinking ? Ah 
me ! we beat in vain against the doors of that secret 
of God ! But I am so certain of God's infinite good- 
ness and love, that I think I can trust myself, and all 
I hold dear, to his love and care." 



Speaking of women, is it not wonderful how all 
the world seems to be moving on that question ? 
Did you notice that the Pasha of Egypt has estab- 
lished a school for girls at Cairo ? What is more, he 
compels the officials of his government to send their 
daughters for two years, to be instructed on Euro- 
pean subjects after the European manner. After 
that, he stipulates that the girls shall be left free to 
choose whether they will veil themselves again and 
return to their former Egyptian modes of life, or not. 
Among the Mohammedans is a sect called The Bab, 
meaning The Gate, or Door. It appears to be a door 
that opens easily, for it is very courteous about let- 
ting in other religions, and urges that women should 


be educated and go about as freely as men. The Bra- 
ma-Somadj is pleading for the similar emancipation 
and enlightenment of Hindoo women. Assuredly, the 
Millerites will have to wait a while. The world can- 
not be destroyed just yet ; there is too much going 
on that needs to be completed. 

I saw some extracts from Father Taylor's Biogra- 
phy in the papers. I was much amused with his an- 
swer to his nurse, when she sought to comfort him 
by saying, " You will soon be with the angels." 
"What do I care about angels ! " he exclaimed ; "I 
want to be with folks." That was a real outburst of 


Watland, 1872. 

I wanted to write a hurrah as soon as it was certain 
the ship of state had safely passed that coalition 
snag, 1 but was prevented from time to time. Then 
came that awful fire in Boston, and put one out of 
the mood of hurrahing. But that conflagration, terri- 
ble as it was, was not so disastrous as would have 
been the restoration of Democrats and rebels to power. 
And not only have we cause for congratulation that 
a present danger is escaped, but we have reason to be 
devoutly thankful for this new proof that the people 
are capable of self-government. 

About the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Animals, you and I, as usual, agree. I have taken 
a lively interest in it, and have been a member of the 
Boston society from the beginning. I have not made 
up my mind about the Darwinian theory, but I have 
long felt that man does not sufficiently recognize his 
1 Keferring to President Grant's reelection. 


kindred with animals. If they were tenderly and 
rationally treated from their birth, I believe it would 
make a vast change in the development of their fac- 
ulties and feelings. I believe the principal reason 
why Arabian horses are so celebrated for intelligence 
and docility is that the Arab lives with his horse as 
with a companion and friend. I hope this wide- 
spread horse-distemper l will make men more thought- 
ful about the comfort of their horses ; having learned 
the great inconvenience of doing without them. 



I wish to see Samuel Johnson's book, 2 and I thank 
you for the offer to send it to me. I will write 11th 
of February in it, and put it among my birthday 
offerings. It is very true that a philosophic religion 
is fit for philosophers only, but all that each individ- 
ual has to do is to follow the truth as far as he sees 
it, without assuming that his boundary is necessarily 
the end of the universe. I opine that we have noth- 
ing to do with the question whether the views that 
seem to us true can meet the wants of the " ignorant, 
silly, sensuous, suffering masses." It is our business 
to seek truth reverentially, and utter it frankly, leav- 
ing it to its mission of educating " the masses " to a 
higher stand-point. It is never safe to look outside 
and calculate consequences in forming our estimate 
of any truths. What a muddy medley they made of 
Christianity by grafting upon it one superstition 

1 The epizootic epidemic then prevailing in all the large cities of 
the United States. 

2 Oriental Religions and their Relation to Universal Religion. By 
Samuel Johnson. Boston, 1873. 


which was important to the Jewish converts, another 
to the Greek, another to the Scandinavian, and so 
on ! The Italian peasant woman is doubtless com- 
forted by praying to a doll dressed up in tinsel, which 
she worships as the " Mother of God." I would not, 
if I had the power, make it illegal for her to comfort 
herself in that way ; but shall I refrain from philo- 
sophic utterance, lest it should make her doll fall out 
of its shrine ? The doll will not and cannot fall, so 
long as the " ignorant, sensual, suffering masses " 
have need of her. The work that needs to be done 
is to bring the world into such a state of order that 
there will be no " ignorant, sensual, suffering masses," 
and consequently no further use for consecrated dolls. 
Meanwhile, let them comfort themselves with their 
dolls. It is the business of grown people to lead 
children gently away from the necessity for toys. It 
is a long time since principles were all that com- 
manded my implicit faith and reverence. Some 
would say regretfully that I believed less than for- 
merly ; but in my inmost soul I know that I believe 


WATLAND, 1873. 

New Year's Day shone very brightly out of heaven. 
A fine mist had frozen on the trees, and made them 
look like great chandeliers of crystallization sparkling 
in the clear blue sky. What can Alpine regions fur- 
nish more beautiful than this scene of fairy splendor? 
I thought of you and of the little feet that would be 
trotting through the snow to see what Miss Osgood 
had provided for them. They read of fairies that 
disguise themselves like old women, though they are 
in reality young and beautiful, and have all manner 


of flowers and jewels that they can shake out of their 
mantles when they choose. I should n't wonder if 
the Medford little folks suspected you of being one of 
those rich and beneficent beings, and would be on the 
look-out to catch a glimpse of your hidden rainbow- 
wings some day. I hope you and they had a pleasant 
time as usual. I devote my New Year's attentions 
to old folks. Two of the eight for whom I always 
try to do something pleasant on that anniversary 
have passed away since that season last came round. 
My protegees are likely to diminish while yours will 
increase ; but I have fewer competitors in my depart- 
ment, and I find that the old are as much pleased by 
presents and tokens of remembrance as children are. 


Wayland, 1873. 
Very hearty, though somewhat tardy, thanks for 
your beautiful present at the close of the year. I 
feasted my eyes on the binding, so orientally gorgeous, 
yet so tasteful. The very colors are appropriate; 
black and gold and that tawny red. I shall not live 
to see the universally acknowledged brotherhood of 
the human race, but I rejoice over the ever-increasing 
indication of tendencies toward such a result ; among 
which the mission of Mrs. Leonowens is very signifi- 
cant. The book, though unavoidably painful in some 
respects, was very fascinating to me. I read it right 
through, every word. How the proclamations of the 
young King of Siam concerning the abolition of slav- 
ery and the brotherhood of religions thrilled through 
me ! God bless him ! I want to send him some- 
thing. And those tender-hearted women of the ha- 
rem whose hearts melted over " Uncle Tom's Cabin, " 


and whose reverence was bestowed both on Jesus and 
Buddha, because they recognized a tender self-sacri- 
ficing spirit in both ! Those women are not degraded 
by polygamy as we should be, simply because they 
are not conscious of degradation. Some one said 
very wisely, " How unlike in character is the naked- 
ness of a courtesan and the nakedness of a savage I" 
There are no gardens of the human soul anywhere so 
neglected that God has not placed in them "flaming 
cherubims that turn every way to guard the Tree of 

Did Mrs. Leonowens's first book ever reach Siam ? 
If so, has she ever heard how it was received? I 
judge that the young king's desire to emulate Presi- 
dent Lincoln must have been in a good degree owing 
to her influence, though she very modestly says noth- 
ing about it. What a blessing to be able to carry 
light into dark corners of the world, and then see 
from afar how the little candle spreads its rays ! 
Christian missionaries might have done much to 
modify the laws and customs of all the world, if they 
had only been less theological. . . . 

It sometimes seems rather hard that I should be so 
entirely shut out from all intellectual intercourse, but 
I don't know how to arrange it otherwise, consistently 
with the discharge of my duty. It is not " eccentric- 
ity," as many people call it ; it is owing to peculiar 
circumstances not of my own creating, and which my 
energy and caution are powerless to change. No- 
body could understand it unless they had experienced 
it. But I have many, many blessings ; the chiefest 
of which are the dear friends I have. God bless them 
for illuminating and cheering my life as they have 



WAYLAND, 1873. 

I thank you cordially for the Diana, which is full 
of life and spirit. Spiritually, it is far inferior to 
the Venus of Milo, but it has an all-alive physical 
beauty which is charming. Thank you, also, for the 
bas-relief from Thorwaldsen. The little heads are de- 
lightfully child-like, but to my eye their perpendicu- 
lar position conveys an idea of walking on the clouds, 
rather than that of floating, or flying. As I never ex- 
pect to see any of the galleries of sculpture, it is a 
great treat to me to form a small stereoscopic gallery 
of my own, which, with the aid of imagination, is 
almost like seeing the originals. 

I agree with you that there are portions of the 
Old Testament too devout and sublime to be omitted 
in any Bible for the human soul. But I do not re- 
member anything in the New Testament so demoral- 
izing as Lot and his daughters, Noah's drunkenness, 
Jacob's dishonest trickery, and David's conduct to 
Uriah. I believe the constant reading of such mon- 
strous things, as sacred writ, from God himself, has 
done much more to unsettle the moral principles of 
mankind than is generally supposed. 


Wayland, 1873. 

As for the poor Indians, would to heaven they had 
education and newspapers to tell their side of the 
story ! The pages you inclosed scarcely give a 
glimpse of the real facts that caused the Seminole 
war. The Seminoles were adopting civilized modes 
of life. They were devoting themselves to agricul- 


ture, and had established a friendly relation with 
their neighbors. But the slave-holders of Georgia 
wanted to drive them out, because they coveted their 
lands, and still more because their slaves were prone 
to take refuge with them. This had been going on 
for generations, and the fugitives had largely inter- 
married with the Indians. The slave-holders not only 
claimed their slaves that had escaped, but their chil- 
dren and grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, 
on the ground that "the child follows the condition 
of the mother." It was to satisfy them that Jackson 
got up the war. It was not Osceola's wife and chil- 
dren only that were seized and carried into slavery. 
Multitudes of their wives and children were carried 
off ; and you may easily conjecture that no very nice 
care was always taken to ascertain whether they had 
descended from slaves in the United States or not. 
The pages you send contain the cool remark that 
" the seizure of Osceola's beautiful wife was an un- 
fortunate affair." God of heaven grant me patience ! 
What would he call it if the Indians had seized and 
carried off his beautiful wife, to sell her in the mar- 
ket for a mistress. I hope the writer is no relation 
of yours, for I have a vehement desire to cuff his 
ears. As for the Seminoles not removing after they 
had by treaty agreed to, I do not know the real facts 
of the case ; but this I do know, that General Jack- 
son was in the habit of making nominal treaties with 
any Indians who could be brought by grog to sign a 
paper, which was forthwith declared to be an official 
treaty concluded with the government of the tribe. 
Just the same as if the government of France or 
England should enter into negotiations with General 
Butler, or Boss Tweed, and then claim that the ar- 


rangement was binding on the government of the 
United States. 

General Grant has disappointed me. His Indian 
policy looked candid and just on paper ; but he does 
not seem to have taken adequate care that it should be 
carried out. The Modocs have formerly had a good 
name as peaceable neighbors ; but they have been 
driven from place to place, and finally pushed into a 
barren corner, where the soil did not admit of their 
raising sufficient for a subsistence. They were driven 
to desperation by starvation, and wearied out with 
promises that were never fulfilled. Poor Captain Jack 
said, " To die by bullets not hurt much ; but it hurts 
a heap to die by hunger." I regret the barbarities of 
Captain Jack, but not more than I regret the barbar- 
ities of Phil. Sheridan. I look upon Osceola and 
Captain Jack both as worthy of an historical place in 
the list of heroes that have died for their oppressed 
peoples. But I may as well stop writing on this 
theme, for it is a hopeless task to try to delineate 
the " general cussedness " of governments. It is a 
strange thing, but it seems impossible to convince 
politicians that it is not " visionary " to be guided 
by correct principles in the administration of affairs. 
Their idea is, the greater the indirectness and the 
double dealing, the greater the statesmanship. Yet, 
all the time, they make loud professions of following 
the teaching of him who said, "Let your yea be yea, 
and your nay, nay." Oh, Sarah, I am so tired of 
shams ! It is very inconvenient to be habitually di- 
rect, in such a world of indirectness. 

I pitied Mr. Curtis when I read his patient answers 
to the " interviewers." Really, those men, who have 
made a profession of audacity and impertinence, are as 


insufferable a nuisance as mosquitoes ; and in these 
days there is no kind of netting that will keep the 
pests out. Certainly the prophesied day has arrived, 
when whatsoever is done in the house is proclaimed 
upon the house-top. Was Dr. Livingstone really 
" interviewed " by a Yankee "interviewer?" Why 
don't we hear further from him? What has be- 
come of the party headed by Dr. Livingstone's son, 
that set out in search of him before Stanley ? Pro- 
fessional interviewers manufacture interviews when 
they do not succeed in finding the individual they 
propose to bore. Even such a small lion as I am has 
been served up in that style. Years ago there was a 
column in the " New York Tribune " describing me in 
a place where I never was, looking as I never looked, 
and saying things I never said or thought of. Even 
the heart of Africa is not a place of safety, and if 
one were to climb Himalaya, some sort of pulley 
would be contrived to hoist up an " interviewer " ! 

I am so sorry about the Modocs ! I have no doubt 
the poor wretches had been goaded to desperation 
before they committed that wanton and most impol- 
itic assault upon the Peace Commissioners. White 
men have so perpetually lied to them that they don't 
know whom, or what, to believe. And after all, we, 
who are so much more enlightened, and who profess 
to be so much more human, have again and again 
killed Indians who were decoyed into our power by a 
flag of truce. No mortal will ever know the accumu- 
lated wrongs of that poor people. No wonder they 
turn at bay, in their desperation and despair. . . . 

You ask if I am in favor of the prohibitory law. I 
am. Its aim is, and its effect would be, to diminish, 
if not entirely to suppress, groggeries ; and a large 


portion of the awful drunkenness that prevails is ow- 
ing to the moral weakness that cannot withstand 
temptation continually placed right before the eyes. 
Unfortunately, alcohol is needed in medicine and in 
various arts, but for these purposes a few wholesale 
depositories are sufficient. I grow more and more 
strict about temperance. I do not now manufacture 
currant wine for the sick, as I used to do. 


WATLAND, 1874. 

How cheering Mrs. Somerville's Life is, as a proof 
of the capabilities of woman ! And how it makes me 
mourn over the frivolous, wasted life of women in 
general ! 

John Stuart Mill's biography made me sad for 
him. He had too much soul to have it entirely 
pressed to death ; but I believe he would have been 
a much greater man, and certainly a much happier 
one, if it had not been for that loveless, dreary child- 
hood, that incessant drilling, that cramming of his 
boyish brain, that pitiless crushing out of all spon- 
taneity. With regard to his writings, I do not al- 
ways like his tone, or always agree with his con- 
clusions. It jarred upon my feelings to have him 
decide that because evil existed, therefore the Creator 
of the universe was either not all-good, or else he 
was not all-powerful. I grant that, taking the very 
limited view we finite beings are capable of, as many 
facts could, perhaps, be brought forward to prove that 
the world was made by a malevolent Being as that 
it was made by a benevolent Being ; but we are such 
a small part of the whole, that it seems to me pre- 
sumptuous to deny that the apparent discord may be 


"harmony not understood." Take Mill's writings all 
in all, they neither cheer nor strengthen me, though 
I greatly respect and admire the intellectual ability, 
the moral courage, and the perfect sincerity of the 
man; and as a woman, there is no limit to the grat- 
itude I owe him. Anna D. has recently sent me 
a book which I like amazingly (you know you al- 
ways laugh at me for my use of that word). It is 
" A Princess of Thule." The plan of it is original, 
even in these days, when one would think the inven- 
tion of anything new in stories had become exhausted. 
The characters are well imagined and delineated with 
a good deal of power. Descriptions of scenery are 
apt to become tiresome ; but these are not only 
graphic, but are finished with such exquisitely artis- 
tic touches, that I felt as if I had been sailing among 
the Hebrides through all their aspects of sunshine 
and storm. The book brought back very distinctly 
that overture of Mendelssohn's called " Fingal's 
Cave," so wonderfully full of winds and waves, and 
seolian whistlings through the fissures of the rocks. 

There is something very queer and inexplicable 
about the manner in which music comes to me. I am 
lamentably deficient in time and tune ; but in some 
way or other music says things to me which skilful 
musicians often do not hear. The first time I heard 
the overture of " Fingal's Cave," I was very much im- 
pressed by its sea-wildness, and I said : " Breathings 
of an seolian harp mingle with the voice of the ocean." 
The musician to whom I said it smiled in a way that 
said, " You are full of odd conceits." Several years 
after, when reading a description of Fingal's Cave, 
I found that there was a fissure in the rocks, through 
which, in certain states of the tide, the winds played 


like a powerful seolian harp. I don't know whether 
Mendelssohn ever went to Fingal's Cave and heard 
the weird music, but the harp of the winds is in 
his overture. When I meet him in another world, 
I mean to ask him, for my own private satisfaction, 
whether he did n't know he put it there. This fas- 
cinating " Princess of Thule" brings back the over- 
ture and the dream I once had of seeing Mendelssohn 
at a concert in the other world. 


Watland, 1874. 

I have been wanting to write you these many days, 
but I make it a rule not to write when I am sad, 
and my soul has been greatly troubled. Since the 
death of Ellis Gray Loring, no affliction has op- 
pressed me so heavily as the death of Charles Sum- 
ner. I loved and reverenced him beyond any other 
man in public life. He was my ideal of a hero, more 
than any of the great men in our national history. 
In fact I almost worshipped him. I see no hopes of 
such another man to stem the overwhelming tide of 
corruption in this country. But perhaps when a mo- 
mentous crisis comes, the hour will bring forth the 
man. If so, it will be well for the nation and for the 
world ; but for myself I can never, never again feel 
the implicit trust in any mortal man that I felt in 
Charles Sumner. A feeling akin to remorse renders 
my grief almost insupportable. Certainly it was not 
my fault, that I could not view the last election in 
the light he did ; but I wept bitterly when he wrote 
to me : " It makes the tears come to my eyes to find 
that you do not sympathize with me in the stand I 
have taken from motives the most conscientious that 


have ever influenced my life." And now that he has 
gone, it seems as if it would kill me to think that my 
want of sympathy should ever have brought tears to 
his eyes. Then I have not written to him for some 
months past. I often wanted to, but his mind seemed 
full of the old vexed topic, and I knew, however ten- 
derly and reverentially I might write, nothing would 
satisfy him but the acknowledgment that he had been 
entirely in the right ; because he never for a moment 
ceased to believe himself so. It is true that Presi- 
dent Grant, since his second election, has done many 
things, and left still more undone, which tend to con- 
firm Mr. Sumner's estimate of him. But, as I again 
and again wrote to Mr. Sumner, the question was 
not whether General Grant was a fitting candidate for 
the presidency, but whether it was safe to restore 
power in our national councils to Democrats and 
rebels. He believed that Democrats and rebels had 
met with a great change of heart ; but I thought, and 
still think, there was superabounding evidence that 
they were still essentially in the same state of mind as 
ever. I thought then, and I think now, that artful 
politicians could not have so imposed upon Mr. Sum- 
ner if it had not been for the state of his health. If 
he had been in perfect physical health he would 

never have believed that Mr. had cultivated the 

growth of a conscience, after doing without one for 
half a century. But the more I am convinced that 
his nervous system was in a shattered and excited 
state, the more keenly do I regret that I did not write 
to him frequently and affectionately. I am aware 
that my letters could not have been of much conse- 
quence to him, but perhaps they might have soothed 
him a little. It seems as if I had been ungrateful 



to him for all his magnificent services to freedom and 
public morals. In the anguish of my heart I cry out, 
44 Enemies wrote to him, and friends did not ! And 
all the while he was dying by inches ! " 

Processions and flowers and panegyrics have be- 
come so much a matter of custom that they are gener- 
ally distasteful to me, as are all things that degener- 
ate into forms without significance. But the homage 
to the memory of Charles Sumner seems to be really 
spontaneous and almost universal. It is a great con- 
solation to me, not only because he richly deserved 
it, but because it is a good omen from the nation. 
There has been nothing like it except the mourning 
for Abraham Lincoln ; and in both cases it was pre- 
eminently honesty of character to which the people 
paid spontaneous homage. They reverenced the men 
because they trusted them. 



I try not to be anxious about my future, and to 
feel a trust that " something will turn up." With 
regard to out-door work, something did " turn up," 
in a wonderful way, when dear David's hands became 
too lame to do his customary jobs. The husband of 
the woman who. has washed and scoured for me has 
for many years acted " like Cain ; " drinking up all 
his wages, and maltreating his wife ; and at last he 
set fire to a barn, and burnt up a dozen cattle, because 
the man who had employed him hid his rum-bottle. 
He received the mild sentence of two years in the 
House of Correction. I hoped he would die there; I 
felt as if I could never endure the sight of him again. 
But when he came here of an errand, the day he had 


served his time out, he was so timid, and his eyes 
had such a beseeching look, as if his soul was hungry 
for a friend, that I could n't stand it ; I shook hands 
with him, and invited him in. I had a long private 
talk with him, and told him that though he was sixty 
years old it was not too late to make a man of him- 
self, if he would only resolve never to taste another 
drop of liquor ; and I assured him that if he would 
only try, I would be a faithful friend to him. He 
promised me that he would try. It is now more than 
a year and a half ago. He has kept his promise, and 
I have kept mine. Every Sunday I prepare a good 
dinner for him, and give him a strong cup of tea. 
He works diligently, supplies his wife with every- 
thing comfortable, and makes her a present of what 
remains of his wages. The poor woman says she was 
never so happy in her life. He is very attentive to 
our wants ; runs of errands, is ready to shovel snow, 
split kindlings, etc. In fact he is our "man Friday." 
If I could get such faithful, hearty service within 
doors, I should be set up for life. Of course he may 
fall back into his old habits, but so long a time has 
elapsed, and I seem to be such an object of worship 
to him, that I cannot but hope for the best. I have 
never in my life experienced any happiness to be 
compared to the consciousness of lifting a human soul 
out of the mire. 1 

1 In her will, Mrs. Child left an annuity of fifty dollars a year to be 
paid in monthly instalments to the man mentioned in the above letter, 
so long as he should abstain from intoxicating drink. 



Wayland, June 18, 1874. 

I cannot help writing to thank you for the Lines 
you have written to the memory of Charles Sumner. 
They are very beautiful, and nothing could be more 

We went into Boston to hear Mr. Curtis's Memo- 
rial Address. I had been longing, amid all the fuss 
and formality, to hear just the right thing said about 
Mr. Sumner, and Mr. Curtis said it, and said it elo- 
quently, from the heart. . . . Corruption is so wide- 
spread and so rampant, that I sometimes have gloomy 
forebodings concerning the future of this country ; 
but the spontaneous and general homage to Charles 
Sumner's memory shows that there is still great 
respect for integrity deeply rooted in the popular 

I was reading over several of your poems last week, 
and for the thousandth time I felt myself consoled 
and strengthened by them, as well as delighted with 
their poetic beauty. It was a very precious gift you 
received, dear friend, to be such a benefactor to the 
souls of your fellow-beings. I know of no one man 
who I think has done so much in that way. That 
immortality you are sure of. 

David and I are growing old. He will be eighty 
in three weeks, and I was seventy-two last February. 
But we keep young in our feelings. We are, in fact, 
like two old children ; as much interested as ever in 
the birds and the wild flowers, and with sympathies 
as lively as ever in all that concerns the welfare of 
the world. Our habitual mood is serene and cheerful. 
The astonishing activity of evil sometimes make me 


despondent for a while, but my belief returns, as 
strong as ever, that there is more good than evil in 
the world, and that the All-wise Being is guiding 
the good to certain victory. How blest are those 
whom he employs as his agents ! 


WAYLAND, 1874. 

With regard to Dr. Clarke's book, 1 I do not be- 
lieve his theory. Doubtless, women who are so much 
engrossed with study as to neglect physical exercise 
will lose their health, and so will men. I have known 
many more cases of young men who have injured 
their health in that way than young women. Every 
step in the world's progress, in any direction, is in- 
evitably hindered by old customs and prejudices. It 
is necessary to bear this with patience, nay, to accept 
it, as in some sort a blessing. Everything must be 
disputed, that everything may be proved. The cen- 
trifugal force needs the centripetal, in spiritual, as 
well as in material affairs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, 
in an article in the " Independent," cut up Dr. Clarke 
with a sharp knife. But I think it needs a woman 
well versed in medical science to fight him with his 
own weapons. 


Melrose, October, 1874. 

I have just received your loving letter of the 26th, 
which was forwarded to me here. 

I have a longing to get to you, but I have many 
misgivings about going to New York. I was wonder- 
fully calm at the time, 2 and for twenty-four hours 

1 Sex in Education. By Edward H. Clarke, M. D. Boston, 1874. 

2 The death of Mr. Child. 


afterward, but since then I seem to get more and 
more sensitive and distressed. I try hard to over- 
come it, for I do not want to cast a shadow over 
others. Moreover, I feel that such states of mind are 
wrong. There are so many reasons for thankfulness 
to the Heavenly Father ! And I do feel very thank- 
ful that he did not suffer for a very long time ; that 
the powers of his mind were undimmed to the last ; 
that my strength and faculties were preserved to take 
care of him to the last ; and that the heavy burden of 
loneliness has fallen upon me, rather than upon him. 

But at times it seems as if I could no longer bear 
the load. I keep breaking down. They told me I 
should feel better after I got away from Wayland, 
where memories haunted me at every step. But I do 
not feel better. On the contrary, I am more deeply 
sad. The coming and going of people talking about 
subjects of common interest makes life seem like a 
foreign land, where I do not understand the language. 
And I go back to my darling old mate with a more 
desperate and clinging tenderness. And when there 
comes no response but the memory of that narrow 
little spot where I planted flowers the day before I 
left our quiet little nest, it seems to me as if all were 
gone, and as if I stood utterly alone on a solitary rock 
in mid-ocean ; alone, in midnight darkness, hearing 
nothing but the surging of the cold waves. 

How unfit I am for the company of others ! It 
would be so painful to me to be a mar-plot to the 
pleasures of others ! Thinking thus, I have great 
misgivings about going to New York. I long to get 
back to Wayland, to creep into a very private corner, 
and read stories to keep me from thinking. All this 
is morbid. But how to get over it is the question. 


Dear Rosa thinks I may like to live near New 
York. But ah ! how my heart would yearn for old 
Massachusetts, where I lived with dear David so many 
years ! Years of struggle they have been, for the 
most part, but perhaps all the dearer for the trials 
we passed through together. I ought not to bring a 
shadow over your happy household. God bless you 


Staten Island, November 23, 1874. 

I was received with the warmest of welcomes. I 
have a pretty, sunshiny room all to myself, hung with 
pictures, warmly carpeted, with soap-stone stove and 
every conceivable convenience. 

From one window, I look out upon a lawn with 
trees and shubbery ; from the other, upon a broad 
expanse of water, shimmering in the sunlight, with 
vessels and steamboats constantly passing, their bright 
flags fluttering in the breeze. The only trouble is 
that everything is too luxurious, and that I am waited 
upon more than suits my habits or inclinations. 

I shall get used to it, in time ; but at present I feel 
"like a cat in a strange garret," and, like a stray 
pussy, I would set off and run hundreds of miles, foot- 
sore and weary, if I could only get back to my hum- 
ble little home and my darling old mate. 

But there is no more of that for me, in this world 
and I ought to be thankful to the Heavenly Father 
for raising up such kind friends to hold me by the 
hand while I am passing through this valley of 
shadows. I am taken right into the bosom of the 
family, and am free to come and go, just as I please ; 
and I like all the inmates extremely. 



Staten Island, January 10, 1875. 

You don't know how frequently and how affection- 
ately I think of you, and how I long to have the 
light of your countenances shine upon me. Mr. and 
Mrs. S. go over to New York two or three times a 
week, and I sit alone in my little room and think, 
think, think. And there is but one who occupies 
my thoughts more than you two dear, good friends, 
whom he loved so well. Pope says, " The last years 
of life, like tickets left in the wheel, rise in value." 
It certainly is true of the last friends that remain to 
us. I have been eminently blest in my few inti- 
mate friends, and I think it is mainly owing to the 
fact that they were all sifted in the anti-slavery 
sieve. . . . 

On Christmas Eve I went with R. H. to a gather- 
ing of O. B. Frothingham's Sunday-school scholars 
and a troop of poor children whom they had invited 
to partake with them of the manifold treasures on 
the Christmas-tree. Oliver Johnson personated Santa 
Claus, and did it very well, marching round and 
round in grotesque costume, to the lively tunes played 
by a colored fiddler. The little folks seemed to en- 
joy it highly. O. B. F. made a quaint little speech 
to them, in which he told them what a good baby 
Jesus was, never crying for what he ought not to 
have, never pulling his mother's hair, etc. . . . 

That is all the pleasuring or visiting I have done 
since I parted from you. My days glide on very 
quietly and comfortably, and for the sake of others 
I try to keep from sadness as much as possible. 

On Sundays I go to the Unitarian meeting, in an 


extremely pretty little Gothic cliapel, where George 
W. Curtis reads the best sermons of English and 
American liberal preachers. The walk of a mile is 
healthy exercise for me. They have a good organ, 
and Mr. Curtis reads admirably, so I find it a pleasant 


WAYLAND, 1875. 

My long visit to you was a great help to my heart 
and soul in many ways, and I was happier than I 
could have been anywhere else, under the circum- 
stances. But you are right in supposing that I often 
felt " confused and bewildered." I feel so everywhere, 
dear friend, and I suppose it will be long before I 
get over it. Here in my native Massachusetts I feel 
like a hungry child lost in a dark wood. People are 
very kind to me, but I cannot banish the desolate 
feeling that I belong to nobody and that nobody be- 
longs to me. . . . 

Three days ago I went to my empty little shanty 
alone, opened doors and windows, and built fires with 
the wood dear David had so carefully provided. It 
was a very solemn and sad task. Every room was 
baptized with my tears. I have wavered a good deal 
about having my furniture carried back there, but 
nothing better seems to open for me, and when I in- 
habit the house, I hope the desolate feeling will grad- 
ually pass away. You cannot imagine anything more 
still and secluded than my life here. Luckily, I have 
been obliged to be very busy, most of the time. It 
was a job to get things back and arrange them. I 
sleep in the same old chamber, where I slept so many 
years with my dear old mate ; where we were wont to 
amuse our waking hours reciting German poetry, and 


talking over all the affairs of the universe. I don't 
look into a German book, for there is nobody to 
hear me " speak my pieces " now. 


June 11, 1875. 

Finding Robert F. Wallcut very desirous of a pho- 
tograph of me, and having none to give him, I went 
to have some taken. A neighbor here told me 
wonderful stories about a spirit-photographer. So I 
thought I would go to him to have my photograph 
taken, and, without saying anything, see what would 
happen. When he showed me the negative, I said, 
" There is no other figure than my own on the plate." 
" Did you wish for any other ? " he asked. I thought 
to myself, " So they don't come unless they are bar- 
gained for ! ' : But I merely said, " If any departed 
friends had been reflected on the plate, it would have 
been gratifying, of course." 

" It takes a longer time to procure the photographs 
of spirits," he replied, "and therefore I charge as 
much for six as I do for twelve of the common kind." 
I told him I would like to have him try, on condition 
that I neither took them, nor paid for them, unless 
there came the likeness of somebody I had known. 
He demurred, and said people must take their chance. 
A young clerk in the establishment looked at me 
twice and smiled very significantly during our con- 
versation. The photographer seemed embarrassed 
and impatient ; but he finally consented to my terms. 
He took the second plate out and carried it into an- 
other room, where he remained three times as long as 
he had done with the negative of my first photograph. 
When he brought it to me, at last, there were two 


heads behind my own ; one of them a vulgar-looking 
man, the other a fat-faced girl with fluffy hair ; 
neither of them faces had I ever seen before, or ever 
desired to see again. The whole proceeding indicated 
trickery. Still, notwithstanding the great amount of 
trickery practised, and the unsatisfactory nature of 
all the communications, there are real phenomona 
connected with the subject which are to me inexpli- 
cable, and which indicate some laws of the universe 
at present unknown to us. 


Wayland, January 20, 1876. 
You remember Charles Sprague's description of 
scenes he witnessed from a window near State 
Street ? First, Garrison dragged through the streets 
by a mob ; second, Burns carried back to slavery by 
United States troops, through the same street ; third, 
a black regiment marching down the same street to 
the tune of " John Brown," to join the United States 
army for the emancipation of their race. What a 
thrilling historical poem might be made of that ! I 
have always thought that no incident in the anti- 
slavery conflict, including the war, was at once so sub- 
lime and romantic as Robert G. Shaw riding through 
Washington Street at the head of that black regiment. 
He, so young, so fair, so graceful in his motions, so 
delicately nurtured, so high-bred in his manners, 
waving his sword to friends at the windows, like a 
brave young knight going forth to " deeds of high 
emprise ; " followed by that dark-faced train, so long 
trampled in the dust, and now awakened by the 
trumpet-tones of freedom ! How I wish a grand his- 
torical painting could be made of it ! Mr. Sears, in a 


sermon he preached at the time of the attack on Fort 
Wagner, said : " The mere conflict of brute forces is 
so much murder and slaughter, and nothing more. 
Whichever side is victorious, there is cause for humil- 
iation, and not for thanksgiving. But in the great 
conflict of ideas, of civilization against barbarism, of 
universal emancipation against the slavery of a race, 
it were a shame not to see the sword of God's mighty 
angel flashing like sunbeams over the field, and light- 
ing our way to a glorious future." 


Wayland, January 28, 1876. 

A few days ago, " the spirit moved " me to write 
to you ; and to-day I am again moved to write to you 
some little incidents which I think will interest you. 

I spent last winter with the parents of Colonel 
Shaw. . . . The flag of the 54th Regiment was in 
their hall, and the sword of Colonel Shaw. There is 
a history about that sword. It is very handsome, 
being richly damascened with the United States coat- 
of-arms, and the letters R. G. S. beneath. It was a 
present from a wealthy uncle in England, and he re- 
ceived it a few days before the attack on Fort Wag- 
ner. You know of his instantaneous death, and the 
manner of his burial. When it was suggested to his 
father and mother to ask for his body, to be buried 
at the North, they replied ; " No. Let it remain 
where it fell. No monument can be so honorable to 
him, as to lie among the brave followers whom he 
was leading in the cause of freedom." When he went 
South, he of course had many parting keepsakes. 
For the sake of tender associations, his family made 
earnest efforts to obtain some of these ; but amid the 


turmoil and reckless robbery of war they had all van- 
ished. They could not obtain even the smallest me- 
morial of him. But, months after, an officer of the 
United States heard that his sword was in posses- 
sion of a Confederate family. He took a small band 
of soldiers and went to their dwelling to ask for the 
sword to send to Colonel Shaw's parents. No one 
was at home but a few colored servants, who of 
course were not very reluctant to admit the United 
States officers. He searched the premises, found the 
sword, and carried it off, without taking any other 
article from the house. It nearly escaped their no- 
tice, on account of being concealed in an old worn 
scabbard. The elegant sheath which belonged to it 
was probably fastened to Colonel Shaw's body, and 
thrown into the pit with him. When his mother 
showed me the weapon she said : " This is the sword 
that Robert waved over his followers, as he urged 
them to the attack. I am so glad it was never used 
in battle ! Not a drop of blood was ever on it. He 
had received it but a few days before he died." These 
noble-hearted people manifested the same spirit about 
the burning of Darien. Colonel Shaw was strongly 
opposed to that measure, and publicly expressed his 
disapprobation of it as a wanton abuse of power, and 
an unnecessary addition to the horrors and sufferings 
of war. But the Georgians, by mistake or otherwise, 
accused him of having instigated it. His father took 
great pains to prove to them that Colonel Shaw and 
his family entirely disapproved of the conflagration, 
and years after peace was declared he sent them a 
generous donation towards rebuilding a small Epis- 
copal church which had been burned. 

I will tell you another touching incident, not with- 


out its beauty. Years after the war was over, a 
rumor reached the North that the embankment at 
Fort Wagner had broken away, and that some of the 
bones buried there were falling through. A connec- 
tion of Colonel Shaw's, who was going South for her 
health, resolved to ascertain whether this report were 
true. Accordingly she procured a boat and was 
rowed to Fort Wagner. The embankment was not 
broken, and the place where Robert was " buried with 
his niggers " was one mass of white blossoms ! It 
had happened thus : Hay had been carried from the 
North for the horses of the United States troops, 
and with the hay was carried seed of the Northern 
" whiteweed," a large starry flower with a golden 
heart. The weed had been unknown at the South, 
and, handsome as it is, it will certainly prove no 
blessing there. But was it not beautiful that the 
spot they strove to desecrate should be spontaneously, 
and, as it were, fondly beautified by Mother Nature 
with this profusion of white flowers from the North, 
shining in the warm sunlight of the South ? You 
and I have the same feelings about war. But when 
I looked at that sword, and the flag of the 54th, I 
thought of those brave colored men facing death in 
the cause of their oppressed brethren, and of their 
leader leaving behind him all the fascinations of love, 
luxury, and refinement, and laying down his life in 
the cause of the poor and the despised ; and, with all 
my detestation of war, that sword did seem to me 
holy. He was acting out his convictions of duty in 
a manner that seemed to him noble and right, and 
which was so in the opinion of an immense majority 
of Christendom. 



Wayland, 1876. 

I have been gadding unusually for me. I went to 
the meeting of the Free Religious Association, where 
I was sorely tempted to speak, because the only 
woman who did speak was so flippant and conceited 
that I was ashamed of her. In the same excursion, I 
spent a day and night at Concord, with the Alcotts. 
Mrs. Alcott was a friend of my youth, and the sister 
of my dear friend, S. J. May. We had a charming 
time, talking over the dear old eventful times. I 
like L. and her artist-sister, M., very much. Some 
people complain that they are brusque; but it is 
merely because they are very straightforward and 
sincere. They have a Christian hatred of lionizing ; 
and the Leo Hunters are a very numerous and im- 
pertinent family. Moreover, they don't like conven- 
tional fetters any better than I do. There have been 
many attempts to saddle and bridle me, and teach 
me to keep step in respectable processions ; but they 
have never got the lasso over my neck yet, and u old 
boss " as I am now, if I see the lasso in the air, I 
snort and gallop off, determined to be a free horse 
to the last, and put up with the consequent lack oj: 
grooming and stabling. 

The house of the Alcotts took my fancy greatly. 
When they bought the place the house was so very 
old that it was thrown into the bargain, with the 
supposition that it was fit for nothing but fire-wood. 
But Mr. Alcott has an architectural taste more in- 
telligible than his Orphic Sayings. He let every old 
rafter and beam stay in its place, changed old ovens 
and ash-holes into Saxon-arched alcoves, and added 


a wash-woman's old shanty to the rear. The result 
is a house full of queer nooks and corners, and all 
manner of juttings in and out. It seems as if the 
spirit of some old architect had brought it from the 
Middle Ages and dropped it down in Concord ; pre- 
serving much better resemblance to the place whence 
it was brought than does the Virgin Mary's house, 
which the angel carried from Bethlehem to Loretto. 
The capable Alcott daughters painted and papered 
the interior themselves. And gradually the artist- 
daughter filled up all the nooks and corners with 
panels on which she had painted birds or flowers ; 
and over the open fire-places she painted mottoes in 
ancient English characters. Owls blink at you and 
faces peep from the most unexpected places. The 
whole leaves a general impression of harmony, of a 
medieval sort, though different parts of the house 
seem to have stopped in a dance that became con- 
fused because some of the party did not keep time. 
The walls are covered with choice engravings, and 
paintings by the artist-daughter. She really is an 


Watland, 1876. 

Whittier, in one of his letters to me, expresses him- 
self about your beloved Robert, thus : " I know of 
nothing nobler or grander than the heroic self-sacri- 
fice of young Colonel Shaw. The only regiment I ever 
looked upon during the war was the 54th, on its de- 
parture for the South. I shall never forget the scene. 
As he rode at the head of his troops, the very flower 
of grace and chivalry, he seemed to me beautiful and 
awful as an angel of God come down to lead the 
host of freedom to victory. I have longed to speak 


the emotions of that hour, but I dared not, lest I 
should indirectly give a new impulse to war. For 
his parents I feel that reverence which belongs to the 
highest manifestation of devotion to duty and forget- 
fulness of self, in view of the mighty interests of hu- 
manity. There must be a noble pride in their great 
sorrow. I am sure they would not exchange their 
dead son for any living one." 


Watland, 1876. 
The books arrived safely ; for which I thank you. 
I must now tell you of something pleasant that has 
happened to me. Miss Osgood left $2,000 for the 
colored people, and appointed me trustee. I gave 
$1,000 to the Home for old colored women, and with 
the remainder I founded a scholarship at Hampton 
College, Va. Soon after, I chanced to see a letter 
from a young colored man in Georgia, to a lady who 
had been his teacher. He had been working very in- 
dustriously to earn money to go to Hampton College, 
and had for that purpose placed $300 in the Freed- 
man's Bank, and lost it all by the dishonesty of the 
managers. His letter impressed me very favorably, 
not only because it was uncommonly well written, but 
especially because he wrote : " Don't beg for me at 
the North, my good friend. I will go to work and 
try again. I want to row my own boat." I sent the 
letter to General Armstrong, and asked that the " Os- 
good Scholarship " might be bestowed upon him. 
That would defray the expense of his education, and 
if he was unable to pay for board, necessary books, 
etc., I agreed to be responsible therefor; with the 
request that he might not know there was any one to 



help him "row his boat." A few days ago I had a 
letter from General Armstrong, in which he says : 
" Forsyth is an uncommonly intelligent, sensible, and 
every way satisfactory pupil ; and I have no doubt he 
will make a good record of himself hereafter." That 
had a very happyfying influence. I have so often 
been unsuccessful in my efforts to help others. 


Boston, December, 1876. 

Your parcel arrived Christmas forenoon, and was 
most welcome. For nine days I had been unable to 
stir out of the house, on account of the fearfully slip- 
pery walking, and I was feeling very forlorn among 
strangers. The weather also was cloudy and chilly, 
and your little parcel came in like a sunbeam through 
a fog. Thank you a thousand times. The views are 
very fine. Perhaps the lady who carved the beauti- 
ful head in butter took the hint from Canova, who, 
as a boy, first attracted attention by the beautiful or- 
naments he carved in butter for a nobleman's table. 
I thank Henry cordially for the little book of poems. 
I always read eagerly any poem I see signed " J. W. 
Chadwick." The one entitled " The Two Wait- 
ings " is about the loveliest poem I ever read. I cop- 
ied it into my .extract book long ago. The lines 
" No more Sea " are beautiful. They seemed to bear 
my drooping spirits up on angel's wings. 

As for our national affairs, I submit, as one must 
do, to things that cannot be helped. I am greatly 
disheartened, but not much disappointed. I have no 
patience with Republicans who refrained from voting 
on the plea that both parties were so corrupt there 
was nothing to choose between them. I am very 


weary of the fashionable optimism which calls one 
thing as good as another thing, thus undermining all 
distinctions between right and wrong. The " Good 
Lord and Good Devil " style, so habitually adopted 
by Mr does not suit my taste. I liked Garri- 
son's earnest, straightforward letter to James Free- 
man Clarke. 


Boston, February 10, 1877. 

Your bundle of views has just arrived. I think 
only three of them are duplicates. Thank you a 
thousand times for the kind remembrance. I am a 
little childish about liking to be remembered on my 
birthday. Seventy-five years old ! What a long time 
to be wandering about this planet ! 

I think every individual, and every society, is per- 
fected just in proportion to the combination, and co- 
operation, of masculine and feminine elements of char- 
acter. He is the most perfect man who is affectionate 
as well as intellectual ; and she is the most perfect 
woman who is intellectual as well as affectionate. Ev- 
ery art and science becomes more interesting, viewed 
both from the masculine and feminine points of view. 
Not of marriage only may it be justly said, " What 
God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 
I think God intended a participation of the mascu- 
line and feminine element in every relation and every 
duty of life. Politics form no exception to this uni- 
versal rule. There are many ways in which women 
could do good service to their country by thoughtful 
and conscientious action in politics. By urging more 
enlightened laws, and voting for those who will sustain 
such laws, they may do much to shield their sons and 


brothers from the dangerous temptations of intemper- 
ance and licentiousness. By advocating and voting 
for a peaceable international settlement of difficulties, 
, they may do much to prevent husbands, sons, and 
brothers from being butchered in battle. War is a 
horrid barbarism, which ought to cease throughout 
the civilized world. But even war is no exception 
to the rule that masculine and feminine elements 
should everywhere cooperate together. None can 
help so efficiently as women in the hospital depart- 
ment of war, and their usefulness might also be great 
in the commissary department. The more the 
sphere of woman's activity of thought enlarges, the 
more her character and capabilities enlarge. The 
more her attention is taken up with important sub- 
jects, the less time and thought will she expend on 
fashion and frivolous amusements. During the War 
of the Rebellion, there were sudden changes of char- 
acter in mere worldly women, that seemed almost 
miraculous. Ladies, who had been accustomed to 
while away the hours of life with fancy work, mani- 
fested a degree of executive ability in the sanitary 
commission, and in the hospitals, which astonished 
their husbands and brothers. The power had always 
been in them, but it had not been developed, because 
they had not been called upon to use it. The women 
of Asia have the same human nature, and the same 
natural capabilities, that we have ; but in those coun- 
tries they spend their time playing with dolls and 
chattering with parrots. If they had been brought 
to New England as soon as they were born, they 
would have become clerks, authors, doctors, painters, 
and sculptors, and enlightened domestic companions 
for intelligent men, and sensible, judicious mothers of 
coming generations. 


The civilization of any country may always be 
measured by the degree of equality between men and 
women ; and society will never come truly into order 
until there is perfect equality and copartnership be- 
tween them in every department of human life. . . . 


Boston, 1878. 

I get fresh reinforcement of courage, trust, and 
hope whenever I hear Mr. Savage preach. He is a 
genuine, all-alive man, and in his earnest, straight- 
forward way, he is doing a great work. He fills my 
soul so full of electricity that the sparks fly when 
any sham touches me. 

I have been reading all sorts of books : Renan's 
Jesus, Herbert Spencer's Philosophy, Omar Kheyam, 
etc. What a very French Jesus Renan portrays. 
To think of its being all arranged to raise Lazarus, 
to produce an effect, because public opinion required 
that he should prove himself a prophet by restoring 
a dead man to life. 

There is a charm about the book, the descriptions 
are so home-like. But it is curious to observe how 
he fluctuates between the decisions of his own reason 
and his fear of making Jesus seem too human to 
please his readers. He represents Jesus as occasion- 
ally " tacking and veering," adroitly, according to 
the popular breeze ; and he certainly does so himself. 
I suppose it seems to a Frenchman the most natural 
thing in the world for even the holiest man to di- 
verge from the straight line for the purposes of tem- 
porary expediency. 

246 ' LETTERS. 


Boston, 1878. 

I have three times been to such lectures as are 
given in the afternoon. One on " Japanese Ways " 
entertained me much. It was by Professor Morse, 
lately returned from Japan. He said he was struck 
with the peculiar cleanliness of all persons, and all 
places, in Japan. Their tea houses, or restaurants, 
were scrupulously neat, made cheerful by a few bright 
pictures of birds, or flowers, and ornamented mottoes 
from Buddhist Scriptures, such as " Forgive all inju- 
ries ;" " Speak ill of no one," etc. " When I came back 
to our depots and restaurants," said he, " and saw 
on the walls, ' Beware of pickpockets ! ' and coarse 
pictures of pugilists, I thought that we might learn 
some salutary lessons from Japan. But they are an 
extremely courteous people ; they are too polite to 
send us missionaries." 

This hit brought cordial applause. 


Wayland, May 24, 1878. 
Thanks for your affectionate, cheerful letter. I 
am as pleased as a child with a new doll, to think you 
liked my little, book * "entirely." In this secluded 
place, where people take little or no interest in any- 
thing, I have no means of knowing what effect the 
book produces. My motive was good, and I tried to 
write in a candid and kindly spirit. I leave it to its 
fate, merely hoping that it may do somewhat to en- 
large the bands of human brotherhood. Personally 

1 Aspirations of the World. A Chain of Opals. Collected, with an 
Introduction, by L. Maria Child. Boston, 1878. 


I have never expected any advantage from the publi- 
cation of it. If it pays its own expenses I shall be 
satisfied. It would mortify me to have the publish- 
ers incur debt by it. 

It is wonderful how shy even liberal ministers gen- 
erally are about trusting people with the plain truth 
concerning their religion. They want to veil it in a 
supernatural haze. They are very reluctant to part 
with the old idea that God has given to Jews and 
Christians a peculiar monopoly of truth. It is a self- 
ish view of God's government of the world, and it is 
time that we knew enough to outgrow it. 



You were right in your prediction about your 
poems. Many of them are too metaphysical for my 
simple, practical mind. 

I cannot soar so high, or dive so deep ; so I stand 
looking and wondering where you have gone, like a 
cow watching a bird or a dolphin. A wag said that 
when Emerson was in Egypt, the Sphinx said to him, 
" You 're another." I imagine the Sphinx would ad- 
dress you in the same way. I find great beauty in 
the poems ; and of those which I do not understand, 
I say, as was said of Madame de Stael, " Would that 
the Pythoness were less inspired, or I more intelli- 
gent." My favorites are the " Cyba," the " Yaguey," 
the " Prospect," and " Evening ;" all of them, you see, 
characterized by the plainness of their meaning. 


Boston, November 25, 1878. 

Dear Saucebox, — I dined with yesterday, 

and I expect to do it again next Sunday ; and I do 


not intend to enter upon a course of promiscuous vis- 
iting. I have been a Bohemian for nearly seventy- 
seven years, and I have resolved to remain a Bohe- 
mian. Society has never yet got me into harness, and 
there is still enough of the colt in me to run at sight 
of a halter. So you may hang up your lasso, my lady. 
I hope you are careful about going too near your 
windows. I have no temptation to such pitch-poling 
myself, but as your imagination seems active on the 
subject, it behooves you to take care. I certainly 
could not throw myself out without considerable fore- 
thought and preparation. Therefore, if such a somer- 
sault should occur, you may inform the interviewers 
of the press that you have my authority for declaring 
that it was done on purpose. Thereupon paragraphs 
will appear stating that Mrs. Child was the author 
of several books of water-color reputation, and though 
a somewhat eccentric old woman, was generally con- 
sidered to have common sense ; and, as it was not 
known that any peculiarly heavy trouble weighed 
upon her mind, her friends were at a loss how to ex- 
plain her rash proceeding. You, perhaps, knowing 
that I think I have a soul (excuse the word), may 
conclude I was in a hurry to go and see what was to 
become of it. I remain, your truly attached 

Bird O 'Freedom. 

2, 1879. 

My most vivid recollection of George Thompson is 
of his speaking at Julian Hall, on a memorable oc- 
casion. Mr. Stetson, then keeper of the Tremont 


House, was present with a large number of his slave- 
holding guests, who had come to Boston to make their 
annual purchases of the merchants. Their presence 
seemed to inspire Mr. Thompson. Never, even from 
his eloquent lips, did I hear such scathing denuncia- 
tions of slavery. The exasperated Southerners could 
not contain their wrath. Their lips were tightly- 
compressed, their hands clenched ; and now and then 
a muttered curse was audible. Finally, one of them 
shouted, " If we had you down South, we 'd cut off 
your ears." Mr. Thompson folded his arms in his 
characteristic manner, looked calmly at the speaker, 
and replied, " Well, sir, if you did cut off my ears, 
I should still cry aloud, ' he that hath ears to hear, 
let him hear.' " 

Meanwhile my heart was thumping like a sledge- 
hammer, for, before the speaking began, Samuel J. 
May had come to me and said in a very low tone, 
" Do you see how the walls are lined by stout truck- 
men, brandishing their whips ? They are part of 
a large mob around the entrance in Federal Street, 
employed by the Southerners to seize George Thomp- 
son and carry him to a South Carolina vessel in wait- 
ing at Long Wharf. A carriage with swift horses is 
at the door, and these Southerners are now exulting 
in the anticipation of lynching him. But behind that 
large green curtain at the back of the platform there 
is a door leading to the chamber of a warehouse. We 
have the key to that door, which leads to a rear en- 
trance of the building on Milk Street. There the abo- 
litionists have stationed a carriage with swift horses 
and a colored driver, who of course will do his best 
for George Thompson. Now as soon as Mr. Thomp- 
son ceases speaking, we want the anti-slavery women 


to gather round him and appear to detain him in eager 
conversation. He will listen and reply, but keep im- 
perceptibly moving backward toward the green cur- 
tain. You will all follow him, and when he vanishes 
behind the curtain you will continue to stand close 
together and appear to be still talking with him." 

At the close of the meeting, twenty-five or thirty 
of us women clustered round Mr. Thompson and 
obeyed the directions we had received. When he had 
disappeared from our midst, there was quiet for two 
or three minutes, interrupted only by our busy talk- 
ing. But the Southerners soon began to stand on 
tiptoe and survey the platform anxiously. Soon a 
loud oath was heard, accompanied by the exclama- 
tion, " He 's gone ! ' ; Then such a thundering stam- 
pede as there was down the front stairs I have never 
heard. We remained in the hall, and presently Sam- 
uel J. May came to us so agitated that he was pale to 
the very lips. " Thank God, he is saved ! " he ex- 
claimed ; and we wrung his hand with hearts too full 
for speech. 

The Boston newspaper press, as usual, presented a 
united front in sympathy with the slave-holders. They 
were full of indignation against the impudent Eng- 
lishman who dared to suggest to enlightened Amer- 
icans that there was a contradiction between their 
slave-laws and the Declaration of Independence. The 
" Boston Post," preeminent in that sort of advocacy 
of democratic dignity, was very facetious about the 
cowardly Englishman and his female militia. But 
they were all in the dark concerning the manner of 
his escape ; for as the door behind the curtain was 
known to very few, it remained a mystery to all ex- 
cept the abolitionists. L. Maria Child. 



Boston, February 21, 1879. 

Your letter came, followed by the picture, which 
arrived two days before my birthday. The little 
Picciola is a perfect beauty. It will be a " joy for- 
ever" to look at it. I have always been in love with 
Richter's delineation of children. Indeed, the Ger- 
mans generally excel all other artists in pictures of 
children. They give them an indescribable air of 
naturalness and simplicity, which I like far better 
than the theatrical gracefulness of the French. 

I should think one might have rather too much of 
art galleries. I always supposed that it would be 
confusing to my mind to wander about in a wilder- 
ness of pictures. As for " dead Christs and crucifix- 
ions," and saints stuck full of arrows, and women 
carrying a dead man's head, and other lugubrious 
subjects, I dislike them all. One "glorious human 
boy " is worth the whole host ; to say nothing of my 
charming little Picciola. 

The labor question continues to seethe and grum- 
ble, like a volcano about to explode. Laborers, in- 
stead of serving their own interests by leaving off 
smoking and drinking, are clamoring for the expul- 
sion of the industrious and frugal Chinese. A great 
force is brought to bear upon Congress to procure the 
abolition of our treaty with China ; a measure which 
would be dishonest and disgraceful to the United 
States, and extremely injurious to our trade with 

Garrison, Phillips, Ward Beecher, and others are 
trying their utmost to prevent such a violation of 
principle. H. W. Beeches in one of his public 


speeches, said, in his facetious way : " It is com- 
plained that the Chinese are idolaters, and therefore 
not fit to associate with Christians. We have stoned 
them, and clubbed them, and -persecuted them, and 
tried religion upon them in almost every shape, and 
still they won't embrace it ! " 


Boston, 1879. 

I keep working, because I am quite sure that no 
particle of goodness or truth is ever really lost, how- 
ever appearances may be to the contrary. But in 
trying to help others, it is sometimes difficult to de- 
cide what is good. I have several poor souls in tow, 
trying to guide them into comfort through righteous 
paths. But I make them so dependent that I some- 
times feel I do them harm rather than good. Yet 
what is to be done ? They are so ignorant and weak- 
minded, they cannot rely upon themselves. 

I admired the spirit of Mr. Curtis's Letter, and I 
entirely agree with the principle he inculcates. I 
have always resisted the idea of conventions and cau- 
cuses dictating to individuals how they shall vote. It 
is utterly subversive of republicanism, and would 
make an oligarchy of the government. I thank him 
cordially for speaking a true word, which greatly 
needed to be spoken. 


Wayland, 1879. 

I think there is sufficient evidence of another state 
of existence, and of the possibility of communication. 
But beyond this glimpse, I think it is all precarious 
and unreliable. One had better spend his life in 


chasing shadows than in seeking for these " manifes- 
tations." But I agree with Victor Hugo, who says: 
" To elude a phenomenon, to turn our backs upon it 
laughing, is to make bankruptcy of truth. The phe- 
nomenon of the ancient tripod, and of the modern 
table-turning, has a claim to be observed, like all 
other phenomena. Root out the worthless weeds of 
error, but harvest the facts. When was chaff made 
a pretext for refusing the wheat ? " 

Science pronounces it entirely illogical to suppose 
that we exist as individuals after our bodies are re- 
solved into the elements. But logic is a science ex- 
tremely narrow in it^s limitations. There may be 
phases of existence as much beyond its cognizance as 
birds are beyond the observation of fishes. Since Em- 
erson and Tennyson have been evolved out of the 
original cave men, it does not seem to me irrational to 
suppose that a continuity of the process may produce 
seraphs. I know that the theory of evolution is a con- 
tinual changing of forms, and that each form, in giving 
place to another, loses its own identity. But when 
evolution has arrived at such a stage as man, a being 
capable of conceiving of higher planes of existence, 
may it not have produced a state of things in which 
continued consciousness through changing forms be- 
comes possible ? There is nothing supernatural. All 
things are produced and governed by universal laws. 
But the trouble is, an immense domain of those laws 
is beyond our knowledge. I bow respectfully to Sci- 
ence and I think she is the safest guide we have. 
But, after all, she does not go very far. 



Watland, June 17, 1879. 

During these weeks, so filled with memories of 
our friend Garrison, I have seemed to feel the pres- 
ence of you and your dear, good husband, as you say 
you have felt mine. I thought of you continually on 
the day of the funeral, and while reading the beauti- 
ful tributes offered by Phillips and Weld and Whit- 
tier. If his spirit was there, how happy he must 
have been ! The general laudation in the newspapers 
was truly wonderful. If any prophet had foretold it 
thirty years ago, who would have believed him ? It 
seems to me there never was so great a moral revolu- 
tion in so short a time. It was elevating and thrill- 
ing to read the funeral services, and it must have 
been much more so to have heard them. If Mr. Gar- 
rison was mistaken in his strong belief that individ- 
ual, conscious existence continued elsewhere, he will 
never know of his mistake ; but I think he was not 
mistaken. I suppose you noticed that Whittier recog- 
nized his spirit as still active in defending the right. 
How could such a spirit die ? . . . 

I should think that painful Pocasset tragedy might 
open people's eyes to the absurdity of taking the rec- 
ords of a semi-barbarous people for an inspired rule 
of life in the nineteenth century. Monstrous as the 
act seems, it is a legitimate result of eulogizing Abra- 
ham for his readiness to sacrifice his son, and of as- 
cribing the same thing to God. 


Watland, June, 1879. 
I am glad you had such a pleasant evening with 


Garrison. He has been a singularly fortunate man. 
Fortunate in accomplishing his purposes ; fortunate 
in drawing around him the best spirits of his time ; 
fortunate in having an amiable, sympathizing wife ; 
fortunate in having excellent, devoted children, whose 
marriages have suited him, and who have lived in 
proximity to him ; fortunate in having his energies 
developed by struggle in early life ; fortunate in later 
years in being at ease in his worldly circumstances ; 
and most fortunate of all in dying before his mind 
became weakened. Death will be to him merely 
passing out of one room filled with friends into an- 
other room still more full of friends. 

It is wonderful how one mortal may affect the des- 
tiny of a multitude. I remember very distinctly the 
first time I ever saw Garrison. I little thought then 
that the whole pattern of my life- web would be 
changed by that introduction. I was then all ab- 
sorbed in poetry and painting, soaring aloft on 
Psyche-wings into the ethereal regions of mysticism. 
He got hold of the strings of my conscience and 
pulled me into reforms. It is of no use to imagine 
what might have been, if I had never met him. Old 
dreams vanished, old associates departed, and all 
things became new. But the new surroundings were 
all alive, and they brought a moral discipline worth 
ten times the sacrifice they cost. But why use the 
word sacrifice ? I was never conscious of any sacri- 
fice. A new stimulus seized my whole being, and 
carried me whithersoever it would. " I could not 
otherwise, so help me God ! " How the same circum- 
stances changed the whole coloring of life for Charles 
Sumner and Wendell Phillips ! The hour of national 
expiation had come, and men and women must needs 


obey the summons to accomplish the work through 
means they could not foresee. 


"Watland, August 25, 1879. 

That Mrs. is the plague of my life. It is the 

fourth or fifth time she has been " pervading my de- 
partment, wanting to know." I don't remember when 
the " Juvenile Miscellany " began, and what sort of 
interest can it have for the public ? An impertinent 
reporter of the interviewed me, and in that pa- 
per last June informed the public of the figures in 
my carpet and the color of my gown, to which he 
appended some literary dates. 

Few things " rile me up " like this impertinent 
curiosity, which, after all, is only a fashionable way of 
earning a penny without work. There is nothing in 
my personal history either " new, useful, or entertain- 

I thank you cordially for the books. . . . You say 
you " like human beings better than books." I like 
some human beings better than books, but not many. 
Books have one very great advantage over people ; 
you can put them aside whenever you don't care to 
be with them any longer. Moreover, I can make up 
a contemptuous mouth and say, " Pshaw ! all bosh ! ' : 
when a book says what I don't like, but it won't do 
to treat people with so much freedom. 


Boston, December 24, 1879. 
I know of nothing very interesting in the literary 
world," except a small volume called the " Light of 
Asia," by the English Mr. Arnold, who married W. 


H. Channing's daughter. It recites the well-known 
legends about Buddha, in a form of singular poetic 
beauty. He made a great mistake, that good " Lord 
Buddha." It would have been more wise to have 
taught his fellow-creatures how to raise more grain, 
weave more cloth, and take better care of their health, 
than it was to descend into beggary with them. But 
there is something very touching and sublime in his 
determination to quit regal splendor and luxury, and 
live among the poor and suffering like a brother. The 
book sells well on account of its literary merit, and 
is helping many other quiet influences to enable hu- 
man souls to recognize their spiritual kinship. 



I wish you could see Miss Whitney's Sam. Adams. 
I never saw an image so full of life ; not even the 
Minute Man at Concord. An acquaintance sent a 
very human-looking doll to a little friend, five years 
old. When a neighbor exclaimed, " What a pretty 
doll ! " the child said, " You must n't call it doll, 
it 's a little girl. She can't walk and talk now, 
but she will by and by." When I returned from 
Miss Whitney's studio, I was asked, " How did you 
like the statue ? " I replied, " You must not call it 
a statue, it 's a man. It will walk and talk by and 



Wayland, July 10, 1880. 

I thank you cordially for the interesting Memorial 
of your excellent wife. 1 Such a benediction is rarely 
bestowed on any man as to have loved and been be- 
1 Mrs. Angelina Grimke Weld. 


loved by such a woman. How dim and cold all the 
pictures of the old saints seem, when brought into 
comparison with the clear light of her conscience, 
and the glowing warmth of her love for her fellow- 

The memory of the early anti-slavery days is very 
sacred to me. The Holy Spirit did actually descend 
upon men and women in tongues of flame. Political 
and theological prejudices and personal ambitions 
were forgotten in sympathy for . the wrongs of the 
helpless, and in the enthusiasm to keep the fire of 
freedom from being extinguished on our national 

All suppression of selfishness makes the moment 
great ; and mortals were never more sublimely for- 
getful of self than were the abolitionists in those 
early days, before the moral force which emanated 
from them had become available as a political power. 
Ah, my friend, that is the only true church organi- 
zation, when heads and hearts unite in working for 
the welfare of the human race ! 

And how wonderfully everything came as it was 
wanted ! How quickly the " mingled flute and trum- 
pet eloquence " of Phillips responded to the clarion 
call of Garrison ! How the clear, rich bugle-tones of 
Whittier wakened echoes in all living souls ! How 
wealth poured from the ever-open hands of Arthur 
Tappan, Gerrit Smith, the Winslows, and thousands 
of others who gave even more largely in proportion 
to their smaller means ! 

How the time-serving policy of Dr. Beecher drove 
the bold, brave boys of Lane Seminary into the bat- 
tle-field ! Politicians said, " The abolitionists exag- 
gerate the evil ; they do not know whereof thev af- 


firm ;" and in response up rose Angelina and her 
sister Sarah, shrinking from the task imposed upon 
them by conscience, but upheld by the divine power 
of truth to deliver this message to the world : " We 
know whereof we affirm ; for we were born and bred 
in South Carolina ; and we know that abolitionists 
have not told, and could not tell, half the horrors of 

Then, like a cloud full of thunder and lightning, 
Frederick Douglass loomed above the horizon. He 
knew whereof he affirmed, for he had been a slave. 
Congress seemed in danger of becoming a mere " den 
of thieves," when Daniel Webster walked out with 
Ichabod written on his garments ; and, strong in moral 
majesty, in walked Charles Sumner, a man so honest 
and pure that he could not see any other line than a 
straight one. What if the pulpits were silent ? The- 
odore Parker, that Boanerges of the clerical ranks, 
spoke in tones strong and far-reaching as a thousand 

Those were indeed inspiring days. I look back 
lovingly upon them ; and I find it very hard to realize 
that so much of it has passed into oblivion, and that 
whatever remains is merely the cold record of history. 

Your good and great Angelina and yourself are 
prominent in these memory pictures of a thrilling 
and exalting period. How well I remember her pale 
countenance and trembling limbs, when she rose to 
address the Legislature of Massachusetts ! The femi- 
nine shrinking was soon overcome by her sense of the 
duty before her, and her words flowed forth, free, forci- 
ble, and well- arranged. Those who went from that 
hall unconverted were those who, being " convinced 
against their will, were of the same opinion still." 



Watland, September, 1880. 

I thank you for the " Life of General Garfield." I 
did not think I should ever again take so much in- 
terest in a political campaign as I do in his election. 
I read every word of his speech on " Honest Money," 
eight columns long. I am not well posted upon finan- 
cial questions, and have had rather a distaste for such 
controversies. But his statements were so very plain 
that I understood every sentence ; and my common 
sense and my moral sense cordially responded thereto. 
Everything I have read of his seems to me to have the 
ring of true metal. I am constantly reminded of the 
practical good sense and sturdy honesty of Francis 

I was especially pleased with the emphasis he 
places on the assertion that there was a right and 
wrong in the War of the Rebellion ; I would not have 
one unnecessary word said that would hurt the feel- 
ings or wound the pride of the South. They acted 
just as we should have acted if we had been educated 
under the same institution. But their institution was 
bad, and the means they took to sustain and extend it 
were bad. I have been disgusted, and somewhat dis- 
couraged, by the " mush of concession " that has 
passed current under the name of magnanimity. The 
tendency to speak of both sides as equally in the 
right, because they both fought bravely, is utterly 
wrong in principle and demoralizing in its influence. 



Wayland, September 23, 1880. 

My precious Friend, — I have not answered 
your last kind letter as soon as my heart dictated, 
because I have waited in hopes to give a better ac- 
count of myself. ... At last, by the help of my 
friend Mrs. S., I have found a pleasant old doctor in 
Weston who has made rheumatism his specialty and 
been very successful in curing it. He is very posi- 
tive that a cure will be effected in two or three weeks. 

Mrs. has been very kind and efficient, and the 

neighbors very attentive. It is a great blessing, also, 
that my general health has been and is extremely 
good. . . . 

Some of my poor neighbors have been in trouble 
owing to protracted illness, and I shall make up to 
them the days when they have not been able to 
work. The worthy young man who comes here to 
sleep needs some help about learning a trade, and I 
am going to give him a lift. Divers other projects I 
have in my mind, and I expect to accomplish them all 
by the help of Aladdin's lamp. Oh, it is such a luxury 
to be able to give without being afraid, I try not to 
be Quixotic, but I want to rain down blessings on all 
the world, in token of thankfulness for the blessings 
that have been rained down upon me. I should 
dearly love to look in upon you at Newport, as you 
kindly suggest, but it is impossible. I once made 
a short visit to Dr. Channing there, and the loveli- 
ness of the scenery made an abiding impression on 
my memory. Your most grateful and loving old 
friend, L. Maria Child. 



Mrs. Child's character was one of rare elements, and 
their combination in one person rarer still. She was the 
outgrowth of New England theology, traditions, and habits 
— the finest fruit of these : but she could have been born 
and bred nowhere but in New England. 

There were all the charms and graceful elements which 

we call feminine, united with a masculine grasp and vigor ; 

sound judgment and great breadth ; large common sense and 

capacity for every-day usefulness ; " endurance, foresight, 

strength, and skill." 

" A creature not too bright and good 
For human nature's daily food." 

But lavishly endowed, her gifts were not so remarkable 
as the admirable conscientiousness with which she used 
them. Indeed, an earnest purpose, vigilant conscientious- 
ness, were the keys to her whole life and its best explana- 

We shall better understand her life if we remember it 
was governed by the divine rule, " Bear ye one another's 
burdens." This, in fact, explains her courage, her economy, 
her painstaking industry, her interest and activity in re- 
forms, and the scrupulous fidelity with which she cultivated 
every power. 


How early her mind ripened and in what girlhood it 
opened to the most advanced thought of her times ! And 
the first draught of fame, usually so intoxicating, never dis- 
turbed her clear judgment or tempted her to any undue 

There were few women authors when, in 1821-22, she 
published her first novels. The success of these was so 
brilliant, and a woman's success then so rare, that the Boston 
Athenaeum, — still the most fashionable and aristocratic, and 
then the only, public library — paid her the almost unique 
compliment of sending her a free ticket of admission. 
When, in 1833, she published her " Appeal in behalf of that 
Class of Americans called Africans," she of course sent that 
library a copy. Whether they ever placed the book on their 
shelves I do not know, but at any rate the directors im- 
mediately withdrew her ticket of admission. And a prom- 
inent lawyer, afterwards a notorious attorney-general of 
Massachusetts, is said to have used tongs to fling the ob- 
noxious volume out of his window. 

This is a sad record ; but to recall it is only fair tribute 
to the young author, who never faltered ; only gave to the 
hated and struggling cause a more public adhesion and a 
more liberal support. Hardly ever was there a costlier sac- 
rifice. Few of us can appreciate it to-day. Narrow means 
just changing to ease ; after a weary struggle, fame and so- 
cial position in her grasp ; every door opening before her ; 
the sweetness of having her genius recognized. 

No one had supposed that independence of opinion on 
a moral question would wreck all this. It was a thunder- 
bolt from a summer sky. But confronted suddenly with 
the alternative, gagged life or total wreck, — she never hesi- 

One blow, and the spreading tree is dead. At the call of 
duty the young woman struck it without repining, and saw 
the whole scene change at once. Obloquy and hard work 
ill-paid ; almost every door shut against her, the name she 
had made a talisman turned to a reproach, and fife hence- 


forth a sacrifice. How serenely she took up that cross, how 
bravely she bore it almost till fife's close ! 

In religious speculation Mrs. Child moved in the very 
van. Her studies and friendships were with the foremost 
scholars. But it was not merely indifferentism, dissent, 
and denial — that negative and aggressive element to which 
Emerson has, of late, so strongly objected. She was pene- 
trated with a deep religious fervor ; as devotional, as pro- 
found and tender a sentiment as the ignorant devotee. 

It has been my lot to find more bigotry and narrowness 
among free religionists than among their opponents. But 
Mrs. Child in her many-sidedness did not merely bear with 
other creeds ; she heartily sympathized with all forms of re- 
ligious belief, pagan, classic, oriental, and Christian. All 
she asked was that they should be .real. That condition 
present, she saw lovingly their merits and gave to each the 
fullest credit for its honesty of purpose. 

Her " Progress of Religious Ideas " was no mere intel- 
lectual effort. It was the natural utterance of a deep, kindly, 
and respectful sympathy with each. There was no foolish 
tenderness, no weak sentimentality about her. She held 
every one, as she did herself, strictly to the sternest respon- 
sibility. Still there was the most lovable candor and an ad- 
mirably level fairness of judgment ; always making every al- 
lowance and believing to the last in honesty of purpose. 

She practised the most rigid economy always and in 
even the minutest particular. Her own hands ministered 
to her wants and those of her husband ; waste was • almost 
crime. But this hard and painstaking care with one hand 
was only that the other might be full for liberal gifts. 

Franklin has had on one or two generations an evil influ- 
ence that made them save only to accumulate, resulting in 
that despicable virtue " prudence ; " despicable when it saps 
independence and shuts up the over-careful hand. 

But Mrs. Child's prudence never held back one needed 
bold word, and was only to make her more able to give. 
There was a delicate shrinking from receiving too many 


favors ; a pride of independence that never left her. To 
one who strove to do for her unpaid, she invented ways of 
remuneration until the balance of obligation was often on 
his side. 

It was like her to refuse a gift of several thousand dol- 
lars, and, again when I suggested that the large-hearted 
friend who offered it had more than she could do to wisely 
distribute her income, and that Mrs. Child could and should 
help her in that, it was like her also to change her mind, 
accept the trust, portion out every dollar of income while 
she lived, and devise it, at her death, to the ideas and 
movements she loved. 

And yet this princely giver kept till death the cheap, 
plain fashion of dress which early narrow means had en- 
forced, — used an envelope twice, and never wrote on a 
whole sheet when half a one would suffice. " I do not think, 
Mrs. Child, you can afford to give so much just now," I 
said to her once, when, in some exigency of the freedmen's 
cause, she told me to send them from her a hundred dollars. 
" Well," she answered, " I will think it over, and send you 
word to-morrow." To-morrow word came, "Please send 
them two hundred." 

Her means were never large : never so large that a woman 
of her class would think she had anything to give away. 
But her spirit was Spartan. When she had nothing for 
others, she worked to get it. She wrote me once, " I have 
four hundred dollars to my credit at my publishers for my 
book on ' Looking towards Sunset.' Please get it and give 
it to the freedmen." 

" I want a dictionary," one said to her whom she was al- 
ways importuning to allow her to give him something, " if 
you will insist on giving it to me ; it will cost ten dollars." 
She sent the most valuable, costing double. But we who 
knew her cannot forget that this was not a hard life nor a 
harsh one. It bubbled up with joy. Threescore years and 
ten had still the freshness of girlhood, the spirits nothing 
could dull or quench ; the ready wit, quick retort, mirthful 


jest. Her memory was a storehouse of fact, proverb, curi- 
ous incident, fine saying, homely wisdom, touching story, 
brave act ; and hence her conversation, fraught with all this 
treasure, was indescribably charming. Few scholars ever 
gave such fair play to their mother-wit ; were so little over- 
loaded and cumbered with massive accumulations. What 
variety of gifts ! everything but poet. Narrative, fiction, 
journalism, history, sketches of daily city life, ethics, conso- 
lation for the evening of life, ennobling our nature by show- 
ing how, under all error, there lives the right purpose and 
principle. And she had nothing of the scholar's disease, 
timidity and selfishness. Her hand was always ready for 
any drudgery of service. It was she, as much as her lion- 
hearted husband, who, at their own cost, saved Boston from 
the crime and infamy of murdering the twelve pirates be- 
fore they had even the mockery of a trial. The fallen 
woman, the over-tempted inebriate, she could take to her 
home and watch over month after month. And prison 
doors were no bar to her when a friendless woman needed 
help or countenance against an angry community. 

Her courage was not merely intellectual. I remember 
well her resolute rebuke, spoken in the street, to the leader 
of one of the Sunday mobs of 1 861, — so stern, brief, and 
pungent that it left him dumb. She was among the first to 
welcome John Brown. While anti-slavery senators and gov- 
ernors excused him as a " madman," and leading reformers 
smiled pityingly on the " fanatic," her sword leapt from its 
scabbard in his defence. While it yet hung in the balance 
whether the nation should acknowledge its prophet or cru- 
cify him, she asked to share his prison, and with brave ap- 
peal stirred the land to see the prophet vouchsafed to it. 

She had much of that marvellous power which disinter- 
estedness always gives. We felt that neither fame, nor gain, 
nor danger, nor calumny had any weight with her ; that she 
sought honestly to act out her thought ; obeyed the rule, — 

" Go put your creed 
Into your deed ; " 

268 . PPENDIX. 

was ready to die for a principle and starve for an idea ; nor 
think to claim any merit for it ! What measureless power 
this has ! With what hooks of steel this binds men to one ! 
A dear lovable woman, welcome at a sick bedside ; as much 
in place there as when facing an angry nation ; contented 
in the home she made ; the loyal friend ; such ingenuity in 
devising ways to help you ; the stalwart fidelity of friendship, 
rare in these easy going, half-and-half, non-committal days ; 
such friendship as allowed no word of disparagement, no 
doubt of a friend's worth, to insult her presence. A wise 
counsellor, one who made your troubles hers and pondered 
thoughtfully before she spoke her hearty word : we feel we 
have lost one who would have stood by us in trouble, a 
shield. She was the kind of woman one would choose to 
represent woman's entrance into broader life. Modest, 
womanly, simple, sincere, solid, real, loyal ; to be trusted ; 
equal to affairs and yet above them ; mother-wit ripened by 
careful training, and enriched with the lore of ages ; a com- 
panion with the pass-word of every science and all litera- 
tures ; a hand ready for fireside help and a mystic loving 
to wander on the edge of the actual, reaching out and up 
into the infinite and the unfathomable ; so that life was 
lifted to romance, to heroism and the loftiest faith. May we 
also have a faith that is almost sight. How joyful to re- 
member, dear friend, your last counsel, the words you 
thought spirit hands had traced for your epitaph : " You 
think us dead. We are not dead ; we are the living." 



L. M. C. 

We sat together, last May-day, and talked 

Of the dear friends who walked 
Beside us, sharers of the hopes and fears 

Of five and forty years 

Since first we met in Freedom's hope forlorn, 

And heard her battle-horn 
Sound through the valleys of the sleeping North, 

Calling her children forth, 

And youth pressed forward with hope-lighted eyes, 

And age, with forecast wise 
Of the long strife before the triumph won, 

Girded his armor on. 

Sadly, as name by name we called the roll, 

We heard the dead-bells toll 
For the unanswering many, and we knew 

The living were the few. 

And we, who waited our own call before 

The inevitable door, 
Listened and looked, as all have done, to win 

Some token from within. 

No sign we saw, we heard no voices call ; 

The impenetrable wall 
Cast down its shadow, like an awful doubt, 

On all who sat without. 

Of many a hint of life beyond the veil, 
And many a ghostly tale 


Wherewith the ages spanned the gulf between 
The seen and the unseen, 

Seeking from omen, trance, and dream to gain 

Solace to doubtful pain. 
And touch, with groping hands, the garment hem 

Of truth sufficing them, 

We talked ; and, turning from the sore unrest 

Of an all-baffling quest, 
We thought of holy lives that from us passed 

Hopeful unto the last, 

As if they saw beyond the river of death, 

Like Him of Nazareth, 
The many mansions of the Eternal days 

Lift up their gates of praise. 

And, hushed to silence by a reverent awe, 

Methought, O friend, I saw 
In thy true life of word, and work, and thought, 

The proof of all we sought. 

Did we not witness in the life of thee 

Immortal prophecy ? 
And feel, when with thee, that thy footsteps trod 

An everlasting road ? 

Not for brief days thy generous sympathies, 

Thy scorn of selfish ease ; 
Not for the poor prize of an earthly goal 

Thy strong uplift of soul. 

Than thine was never turned a fonder heart 

To nature and to art 
In fair-formed Hellas in her golden prime, 

Thy Philothea's time. 


Yet, loving beauty, thou couldst pass it by, 

And for the poor deny 
Thyself, and see thy fresh, sweet flower of fame 

Wither in blight and blame. 

Sharing His love who holds in His embrace 

The lowliest of our race, • 
Sure the Divine economy must be 

Conservative of thee ! 

For truth must live with truth, self-sacrifice 

Seek out its great allies ; 
Good must find good by gravitation sure, 

And love with love endure. 


And so, since thou hast passed within the gate 

Whereby awhile I wait, 
I give blind grief and blinder sense the lie : 

Thou hast not lived to die ! 

Jokn" Gkeexleaf Whittlek. 




Hobomok ; a Tale of Early Times. Boston, 1824. Imp. 

The Rebels ; or, Boston before the Revolution. Boston, 

1825. 12°. 
The Juvenile Miscellany. 1826-1834. 
The Juvenile Souvenir. Boston, 1828. 12°. 
The First Settlers of New England ; or, Conquest of the 

Pequods, Narragansets, and Pokanokets. As related by 

a mother to her children. Boston, 1829. 
The (American) Frugal Housewife. Boston, 1829. 12°. 
The Mother's Book. Boston, 1831. 12°. 
The Girl's Own Book. Boston, 1831. 12°. 
The Coronal ; a Collection of Miscellaneous Pieces, Written 

at Various Times. Boston, 1831. 18°. 
The Ladies' Family Library. 

Vol. I. Biographies of Lady Russell and Madame Guion. 
Boston, 1832. 12°. 

Vol. II. Biographies of Madame de Stael and Madame 
Roland. Boston, 1832. 12°. 

Vol. III. Biographies of Good Wives. Boston, 1833. 12°. 

Contents. — Lady Ackland. — Queen Anna. — Arria, Wife 
of Poetus. — Lady Biron. — Mrs. Blackwell. — Calphurnia. — 
Chelonis. — Lady Collingwood. — Countess of Dorsett. — Queen 
Eleanor Eponina. — Lady Fanshawe. — Mrs. Fletcher. — Mrs. 
Grotius. — Mrs. Howard. — Mrs. Huter. — Countess of Hunting- 
don. — Mrs. Hutchinson. — Lady Arabella Johnson. — Mrs. Jud- 
son. — Mrs. Klopstock. — Mrs. Lavater. — Mrs. Lavalette. — 
Mrs. Luther. — Queen Mary. — Countess of Withsdale. — Mrs. 
Oberlin. — Panthea. — Baroness Reidesel. — Mrs. Reiske. — 
Mrs. Boss. — Mrs. Schiller. — Countess Segur. — Spurzheim. — 
Sybella. — Baroness Vonder Mart. — Mrs. West. — Mrs. Wie- 
land. — Mrs. Winthrop. 


Vol. IV.— V. History of the Condition of Women in Vari- 
ous Ages and Nations. Boston, 1835. 2 vols. 16°. 
Vol. I. The Women of Asia and Africa. Vol. II. 
The Women of Europe, America, and South Sea Isl- 
An Appeal in Behalf of that Class of Americans called 

Africans. Boston, 1833. 12 ( 
The Oasis. Boston, 1834. 16 c 


Contents. — Child, Mrs. L. M. Brief Memoir of Wilberforce; 
How to effect Emancipation ; Malem Boo ; Illustration of Preju- 
dice ; Joanna ; I thank my God for my Humility ; Safe Mode of 
Operation; Scipio Africanus; The Hottentots; Conversation with 
Colonizationists ; Knowledge in Austria ; Voices from the South ; 
Scale of Complexions ; Dangers of Emancipation ; Knowledge in 
the United States ; Old Scip ; Derivation of Negro; Opinions of 
Travellers ; Jamaica Mobs. — Follen, Mrs. Remember the Slave ; 
The Runaway Slave. — Child, D. L. Henry Diaz; Three Col- 
ored Republics of Guiana; Judicial Decisions in Slave States. 
Whittier, J. G. The Slave Ships. — Whittier, E. H. The 
Slave Trader. — Bradley, J. History of J. B., by Himself. — 
Mat, Rev. S. J. Miss Crandall's School. — Florence. The 
Infant Abolitionist. — Gould, H. F. The Land of the Free. — 
English Protest against the Colonization Society. — Alexander 
Vasselin. — Cornelius of St. Croix. — Ruins of Egyptian Thebes. 
— History of Thomas Jenkins. — A Negro Hunt. 

An Anti-Slavery Catechism. Newburyport, 1836. 12°. 
The Evils of Slavery and the Curse of Slavery. The first 

proved by the opinions of Southerners themselves ; the last 

shown by historical evidence. Newburyport, 1836. 12°. 
Philothea : a Romance. Boston, 1836. 12°. 
The Family Nurse. Boston, 1837. 12°. 
Authentic Narratives of American Slavery. Newburyport, 

1838. 12°. 
Rose Marian. Adapted from the German. 1839. 
The Preaching of Whitefield. (In Boston Book, 1841.) 
The Anti-Slavery Almanac. New York, 1843. 16°. 
Letters from New York. First Series. New York, 1843. 


Flowers for Children. First and Second Series. 1844. 


Letters from New York. Second Series. New York, 1845. 

Fact and Fiction. 1846. 
Flowers for Children. Third Series. 1846. 
Isaac T. Hopper ; a True Life. Boston, 1853. 12°. 
New Flowers for Children. 1855. 
The Progress of Religious Ideas through Successive Ages. 

New York, 1855. 3 vols. 8°. 
Autumnal Leaves : Tales and Sketches in Prose and Rhyme. 

New York, 1856. 16°. 
Correspondence between L. M. Child and Gov. Wise and 

Mrs. Mason (of Virginia). Boston, 1860. 12°. 
The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act. An 

Appeal to the Legislators of Massachusetts. Boston, 

1860. 12°. (Anti-Slavery Tracts, No. 9.) 
The Patriarchal Institution, described by Members of its 

own Family. New York, 1860. 12°. 
The Right Way the Safe Way, proved by Emancipation in 

the West Indies and elsewhere. New York, 1860. 12°. 
The Freedmen's Book. Boston, 1865. 16°. 
A Romance of the Republic. Boston, 1867. 12°. 
Looking towards Sunset. From Sources Old and New, 

Original and Selected. Boston, 1868. 8°. 
An Appeal for the Indians. New York (1868 ?). 12°. 
Aspirations of the World. A Chain of Opals. With an 

Introduction by L. M. Child. Boston, 1878. 16°. 


Abdy, Edward S., Mrs. Child's letters 
to, viii. 

Adams, John Quincy, indebted to Mr. 
Child for facts on the Texas question, 
viii. ; maintains the right to proclaim 
emancipation in war time, 151. 

Adams, Samuel, Miss Whitney's statue 
of, 257. 

Advertisements of fugitive slaves, 128, 

Alcott, A. Bronson, and family, 239. 

Allen, Mr., of Alabama, testifies to hor- 
rors of slavery, 131. 

Allyn, Rev. Dr., letter to, 9. 

American Anti-Slavery Society, forma- 
tion of, viii. 

American Missionary Association, re- 
fuses to circulate Mrs. Child's " Freed- 
men's Book,"' 201. 

Andrews, William P., sonnet to Mrs. 
Child, xxiii. 

" An English governess at the Siamese 
Court," 210. 

Animals, the treatment of, 214. 

Anti-Slavery Society (Mass.), annual 
meeting of, mobbed, 14S-150. 

" Appeal in behalf of that Class of Amer- 
icans called Africans," by Mrs. Child, 
ix., 48, 195. 

Armstrong, General, and Hampton In- 
stitute, 241. 

Arnold, Edwin, 257. 

" Aspirations of the World," by Mrs, 
Child, xix., 246. 

"Aurora Leigh," by Mrs. Browning, 87, 

11 Autobiography of a Female Slave," 90, 

Banneker, Benjamin, 184. 

Beecher, Henry Ward, magnetic power 
of, 193 ; defends the Chinese, 251. 

Beethoven's music contrasted with 
Mendelssohn's, 76. 

Benson, Edmund, 89. 

Berrien, John McP., TJ. S. Senator, an- 
ecdote of, 179. 

Bettine and Goethe, 50, 51. 

Bible, anti slavery texts from, 123-125. 

Bishop, Madame Anna, 140. 

Bleby, Rev. Henry, 134. 

Boston Athenaeum, privileges of, given 
to, and withdrawn from, Mrs. Child, 
195, 264. 

Boutwell, George S , speech of, 168. 
Bremer, Fredrika, meets Mrs. Child, 

65 ; relates anecdote of Jenny Lind, 

66 ; her estimation of Lowell and 

Emerson, 66. 
Brisbane, Mr., 51. 

" Broken Lights," by Miss Cobbe, 184. 
Brooks, Governor, v. 
Brown, John, letter of Mrs. Child to, 

118 ; his reply, 119 ; martyrdom of, 

Browning's (Mrs.) " Aurora Leigh," 87. 
Bryant, William C, writes to Mrs. Child, 

Buckle's " History of Civilization," 99. 
Buddha, 257. 
Burns, Anthony, returned to slavery 

from Boston, 72. 

Carpenter. E., letters to, 19, 22, 26. 

Carpenter, Joseph, letters to, 41, 68. 

Cassimir, a nephew of Kossuth, 162. 

Chadwick, John W., 242. 

Channing, W r illiam Ellery, discusses the 
anti-slavery movement with Mrs. 
Child, 24 ; letters of, to Mrs. Child, 
44, 45 ; Mrs. Child's reminiscences of, 
48 ; influenced by Mrs. Child's " Ap- 
peal," 77 ; her imagination of him 
in the spiritual world, 144. 

Channing, William H., 188, 257. 

Chicago " Tribune " has biographical 
sketch of Mrs. Child, 201. 

Chapman, Maria Weston, 19, 147. 

Child, letter to a, 36. 

Child, David Lee, biographical sketch of, 
viii. ; first meets Miss Francis, 8; his 
marriage, 10 : letters to, from his 
wife, 10, 82, 86, 88, 96 ; his domestic 
happiness, xvi. ; his death, xix., 229; 
Mrs. Child's reminiscences of, xvi. 

Child, Lydia Maria, publishes her " Ap- 
peal" in behalf of the colored people, 
ix. ; her consequent unpopularity, ix. ; 
an advocate of individual freedom, 
12 ; describes pro-slavery excitement 
in New York, 15 ; indifference to lit- 
erary success, 21 ; on the prejudice 
against color among Fi-iends, 23 ; 
converses with Dr. Channing on the 
anti-slavery movement, 24 ; hears An- 
gelina Grimke" speak, 26 ; life in 
Northampton, 29-41 : discussions 
with slave-holders, 30 ; abusive letters 



to, from Southerners, 41; edits the 
" Standard," in New York, 42 ; lives 
with Isaac T. Hopper's family, 48 ; in- 
terest in New Church doctrines, 43 ; 
letters of Dr. Channing to, 44, 45 ; 
her reminiscences of Dr. Channing, 
48 : life in New York, 50-60 ; charac- 
terization of, by Rev. Mr. Kent, 55 ; 
interview with Dr. Palfrey, 56 ; reads 
Emerson's essays, 57 ; her admiration 
of Domenichino's " Cumsean Sibyl," 
57 ; has a birthday celebration, 59 ; her 
views on a salaried priesthood, 61 ; 
reads the " Countess of Rudolstaat," 
62; dislikes letters of introduction, 
63 ; her enjoyment of music, 64 ; at 
work on " The Progress of Religious 
Ideas," 65 ; meets Fredrika Breiner, 
65 ; makes her will, 74 ; passes 
through strange spiritual experiences, 
74, 75 ; spends a lonely winter at 
Wayland, 75 ; prefers Mendelssohn's 
music to Beethoven's, and Raphael's 
works to Michael Angelo's, 76 ; her 
labor in writing "The Progress of 
Religious Ideas," 78 ; her interest in 
the Fremont campaign and Kansas 
conflict, 79, 80 ; working for the Kan- 
sas emigrants, 83 ; writes a Free Soil 
song, 83 ; death of her father, 87 ; in- 
terviews with Charles Sumner and 
Henry Wilson, 88 ; her low estimate 
of worldly rank, 89 ; correspond-; wit h 
Miss Mattie Griffith, 89 ; meets David 
A. Wasson, 91 ; her grief at Ellis Gray 
Loring's death, 95 ; meets J. G. Whit- 
tier, 97 ; her indebtedness to her 
brother, 98 ; her delight in works of 
art and in nature, 98, 99 ; reads Buck- 
le's " History of Civilisation," 99; 
lines in memory of Ellis Gray Loring, 
101 ; correspondence with John 
Brown, Governor Wise, and Mrs. Ma- 
son, 103-137: attends prayer-meeting 
of colored people, 137 ; reads F. W. 
Newman's books, 139 ; reads " Coun- 
terparts,'" 140 ; visit to Whittier, 141 ; 
discusses a future state of existence, 
143 ; attends an anti-slavery festival, 
147 ; describes a mob at an anti-slav- 
ery meeting, 148, 149*; denounces the 
return of fugitive slaves by U. S. 
troops, 150 ; her thoughts absorbed by 
the war, 158 ; meets old friends at the 
Anti-Slavery office, 155 ; visits at Mr. 
Sewall's, 156 ; her dread of a war with 
England, 163 ; reads " John Brent," 
164 ; donations for the '' contra- 
bands," 165 ; working for the Kansas 
troops, 168 ; metaphysics her aver- 
sion, 169 ; her active winter life at 
Wayland, 170; her feelings about 
the Emancipation Proclamation, 171 ; 
death of her brother, 172 ; her in- 
debtedness to him, 173 ; her sorrow 
at Colonel Shaw's death, 176 ; partial 
destruction of her house by fire, 177 ; 
reads Weiss 's " Life of Parker," 179 ; 

meets George Thompson, 181 ; her 
happiness over Lincoln's reelection, 
183^ success of her " Looking towards 
Sunset," 185; her enjoyment of win- 
ter scenei-y, 191; publishes "The 
Freedmen's Book," 192; her "Right 
Way the Safe Way," 192 ; on novels 
and sermons, 192, 193 ; not a loser, 
but a gainer, by her adherence to the 
anti-slavery cause, 194 ; her first 
meeting with Mr. Garrison, 195 ; the 
privileges of the Boston Athenaeum 
given to, and withdrawn from, her, 
195, 264 ; cultivates cheerfulness, 196 ; 
reads the " Spanish Gypsy," 197; her 
sixty-seventh birthday, 198 ; on Fou- 
rier and the labor question, 199 ; her 
jubilation over Grant's election, 200 ; 
reads Taine's papers on art, 200 ; her 
" Freedmen's Book " and the Ameri- 
can Missionary Association, 201 ; her 
aversion to newspaper publicity, 201 ; 
her judgment of George Sand, 205 ; 
lines to George Thompson, 206 ; her 
appeal to Mr. Sumner in behalf of the 
rights of women, 208; on Grant's 
reelection, 213 ; on the treatment of 
animals, 214 ; on the Indian question, 
xx., 218-221; in favor of the pro- 
hibitory law, 221 ; reads Mrs. Som- 
ervillc's Life, and Mill's Autobiogra- 
phy, 222, and "A Princess of Thule," 
223 ; her grief at Charles Sumner's 
death, 224 ; her reformation of a 
drunkard, 227 ; her views on " Sex in 
Education," 229 ; her loneliness after 
her husband's death, 230; passes the 
winter at Staten Island, 231 ; Christ- 
mas in New York, 232 ; returns to 
Wayland, 233 ; investigates " spirit- 
photography," 234; visits the Al- 
cotts at Concord, 239 ; on the equality 
of the sexes, 243 ; reads Renan's " Life 
of Jesus," 245; publishes " Aspira- 
tions of the World," 247; her rem- 
iniscences of George Thompson, 248 ; 
her views on the Chinese question, 
251 ; speculations on a future life, 
252 ; on the death of Mr. Garrison, 
254, 255 ; reads " The Light of Asia," 
257 ; reminiscences of anti-slavery 
days, 258 ; her interest in Garfield's 
election, 260 ; her last days, 261 ; rem- 
iniscences of, xxi. ; Mr. Phillips's re- 
marks at her funeral, 263; Whittier 's 
poem to her memory, 269. 

Chinese in America, agitation against 
the, 251. 

Choate, Rufus, employed to defend the 
slave child, Med, 20. 

Christianity an accretion of all the ante- 
cedent religious aspirations of man- 
kind, 202. 

" Christian Register," The, 194, 201. 

" Church of the Future," The, by Miss 
Cobbe, 184. 

Clarke, Edward II., M. D., on " Sen in 
Education," 229. 



Clarke, James Freeman, addresses an 
anti-slavery meeting, 149 ; Mr. Garri- 
son's Letter to, 243. 

Cobbe, Frances Power, her "Broken 
Lights," and" Church of the Future," 

Colored people of Boston commemorate 
John Brown's death, 137. 

Constantino, the Emperor, his conver- 
sion to Christianity, 187. 

Constitution, U. S., passage of 13th 
Amendment to, 188. 

" Contrabands," anecdotes of the, 158: 
donations for, 165. 

Conway, Martin F., of Kansas, 168. 

Correggio's "Diana," Toschi's engrav- 
ing of, 70. 

" Countess of Rudolstaat," The, a 
novel, 62. 

Crawford, Mr., of London, 12. 

" Cumawin Sibyl," by Domenichino, 57. 

Curtis, George William, 79; oration of, 
85 ; conducts Sunday services, 233 ; let- 
ter on caucus dictation, 252. 

Davis, Jeff., 152. 

De StaSl, Madame, 247. 

Devens, Charles, redeems Thomas Sims 
from slavery, 189. 

Domenichino's " Cumsean Sibyl," 57. 

Douglass, Frederick, 259. 

Draft riots of 1863 in New York, 178. 

Dresel, Mrs. Anna Loring, letter to, 191. 

Dresser, Amos, publicly flogged at Nash- 
ville, Tenn., 184. 

Dwight, JohnS., 29, 37, 50. 

"Eclectic Review," The,viii. 

Education of women in Egypt and In- 
dia, the, 212,213. 

Elssler, Fanny, 35. 

Emancipation Proclamation, 171. 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, attitude of the 
Unitarians towards, 34 ; sends Mrs. 
Child his Essays, 57 ; speaks at a 
mobbed anti-slavery meeting, 149. 

Emerson and the Sphinx, 247. 

" Eminent Women of the Age," vi. 

Equality of the sexes, 243-245. 

" Fable for Critics," A, by J. R. 

Lowell, xiv. 
Faneuil Hall, meeting at, in behalf of 

Anthony Burns, 73. 
" Fingal's Cave," Mendelssohn's over- 
ture of, 223. 
Foote, Henry S., U. S. Senator, 179. 
Fortress Monroe, fugitive slaves at, 150, 

Forten, R. R., 184. 
Fort Pickens (Florida), fugitive slaves 

returned from, by U. S. officers, 150. 
Fort Wagner, the attack on, 236 ; the 

grave of Colonel Shaw at, 238. 
Fourier, Francois Charles Marie, 199. 
Francis, Miss A. B., letters to, 231, 251, 

Francis, Convers, aids and encourages 

his sister, v., vi.,1 ; letters tol,2,4, 5, 
6, 7, 12, 16, 17, 29, 33, 39, 40, 50, 58, 63, 
64, 65, 74, 89, 98 ; on the death of his 
wife, 163 ; death of, 172. 

Francis, Lydia Maria, birth of, v. ; her 
first schooling, v., vi. ; ambitious to 
write a novel, vi. ; reads "Paradise 
Lost," 1, 2; "Guy Mannering," 2 
Gibbon's "Roman Empire," 4 
" Shakespeare," 4 ; " The Spectator,' 
5 ; Johnson her favorite writer, 5 
takes a school in Gardiner, Me., 5 
her opinion of Byron, 7: discusses 
Paley's system, 7 ; her early literary 
successes, vii., 10; first meets Mr. 
Child, 8 ; her marriage, 10. 

" Freedmen's Book," The, by Mrs. 
Child, 192, 201. 

Free Religious Association, meeting of 
the, 239. 

Fremont, John C, 79 : his emancipa- 
tion proclamation, 162. 

Friends, the, degeneracy of, 22, 28. 

Frothingham, Rev. O. B., 232. 

" Frugal Housewife," The, vii. 

Fugitive slaves, advertisements of, 128, 
129 ; returned by U. S. troops, 149, 150, 

Furness, Rev. William H., 81. 

Future life, speculations on the, 252 

Garfield, James A., 260. 

Garrison, William Lloyd, interests Mr. 
and Mrs. Child in the slavery ques- 
tion, viii, 23 ; favors the dissolution 
of the Anti-Slavery Society, 190 ; his 
first interview with Mrs. Child, 195 ; 
mobbed in Boston streets, 235 ; letter 
to J. F. Clarke, 243 ; defends the Chi- 
nese, 251 ; the tributes to, on his 
death, 254 ; his belief in continued 
existence, 254 ; his influence on Mrs. 
Child's life, 255. 

Gay, Mrs. S. H., 177. 

Gibbons, James S., house of, gutted by 
rioters, 178. 

Giles, Governor, message of, to Virginia 
Legislature, 132. 

"Girl's Book," The, vii. 

Goethe and Bettine, 50, 51, 

Grant's (President U. S.) election, 199; 
reelection, 213 ; his Indian policy, 

Griffith, Miss Mattie, emancipates her 
slaves, 89-91 ; her " Autobiography of 
a Female Slave," 90, 132. 

Grimk(5, Angelina, addresses a commit- 
tee of the Massachusetts Legislature, 
26; her testimony against slavery, 

Grimke", Sarah M., her testimony against 
slavery, 129. 

Hampton Institute and General Arm- 
strong, 241. 

Hedrick, Professor, expelled from North 
Carolina, 108. 

Henry the Eighth and the Protestant 
reformation, 187. 



Heyrick, Elizabeth, promulgates the 
doctrine of " Immediate Emancipa- 
tion," 23. 

Higginson, T. W., his biographical ac- 
count of Mrs. Child, vi., xiii. ; sermon 
to the people of Lawrence, Kans., 84 ; 
speech at an anti-slavery meeting, 149. 

Hincks, Governor, of the West Indies, 

" History of Women,' 1 vii. 

Hoar, Samuel, expelled from South Car- 
olina, 108. 

" Hobomok," Mrs. Child's first story, 

Hopper, Tsaac T., 43 ; Mrs. Child's Life 
of, xiii. 

Hosmer, Harriet, 68. 

Hovey, Charles F., 82. 

Indians, treatment of the, 218-220. 

Jack, Captain, the Modoc chief, 220. 

Jackson, General Andrew, and the Sem- 
inole War, 219. 

Jackson, Francis, 260. 

Jay, John, 188. 

Jefferson, Thomas, testimony of against 
slavery, 133. 

" John Brent," by Theodore Winthrop, 

" John Brown Song," the, 157. 

Johnson, Andrew, speech of, at Nash- 
ville, 184. 

Johnson, Oliver, 232. 

Johnson, Rev. Samuel, 96, 214. 

Julian, George W., letter to, 187. 

"Juvenile Miscellany," vii., 10, 256. 

Kent, Rev. Mr., characterizes Mrs. 

Child, 55. 
King, Miss Augusta, letters to, 37, 52, 


Labor Question, the, 199. 
•Lafayette's observation of the change in 
color of the slaves in Virginia, 126. 

Laws of the Slave States, against inter- 
marriage, 126 ; against negro testi- 
mony, 126 ; in regard to punishment 
of slaves, 127 ; by which the master 
appropriated a slave* earnings, 128 ; 
prohibiting education of the blacks, 

Leonowens, Mrs. A. H., her book on 
Siam, 210, 216. 

"Letters from New York," Mrs. Child's, 
xi., 45. 

" Light of Asia," The, 257. 

Lincoln, President, faith of the slaves 
in, 150 ; reelection of, 183. 

Lind, Jennv, anecdote of, 66. 

" Linda," the author of, 204. 

Lives of Madame Roland and Baroness 
de Stael, by Mrs. Child, xi. 

Livingstone, Dr., and Stanley, 221. 

" Looking towards Sunset," by Mrs. 
Child, success of, 185. 

Loring, Miss Anna, letters to, 53, 94. 

Loring, Ellis Gray, 21 ; letters to, 43, 

65, 74 ; death of, 95 ; lines by Mrs. 

Child in memory of, 101. 
Loring, Mrs. Ellis Gray, letters to, 15, 

28, 82. 
Lowell, J. R., tribute to Mrs. Child in 

his "Fable for Critics," xiv., xviii. ; 

Fredrika Bremer's estimate of, 66. 

" Marm Betty," Mrs. Child's earliest 
teacher, v. 

Married Women " dead in the law," 74 

Martineau, Harriet, anecdote of, 19 ; her 
letter to the " Standard," 167. 

Maryland, emancipation in, 184. 

Mason, Mrs. M. J. C, letter of, to Mrs. 
Child, 120; Mrs. Child's reply to, 

Mason and Slidell, capture of, 162. 

Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, an- 
nual meeting of mobbed, 148-150. 

" Massachusetts Journal," the, viii. 

May, Rev. Samuel, 72. 

May, Rev. Samuel J., commends Mrs. 
Child's " Progress of Religious Ideas," 
77 ; meets Mrs. Child, 156 ; letters to, 
192, 194 ; his " Recollections of our 
Anti-Slavery Conflict," 194; death of, 
212 ; reminiscence of, 249. 

Med, the slave-child, case of, 20. 

Mendelssohn and Beethoven, their music 
contrasted, 76. 

Mexico, the plot against denounced by 
Mr. Child, viii. 

Michael Angelo and Raphael, 76. 

Mill's (John Stuart) Autobiography, 

Milmore's (Martin) bust of Charles Sum- 
ner, 187. 

Minute Man at Concord, the, 257. 

Missouri Compromise, efforts to repeal 
the, 70. 

Mobbing of the anti-slavery meetings, 

Modocs, persecution of the, 220 ; their 
assault on the Peace Commissioners, 

Montgomery, Col. James, 161, 162. 

Morse, Professor, on Japan, 246. 

"Mother's Book," The, vii. 

Muller's (Max) " Science of Language," 

Nebraska Bill, passage of the, 72. 

" Negro Boat Song," by Whittier, 159. 

" New Chapter of Christian Evidences," 
in the " Atlantic Monthly, 202." 

New Church doctrines, Mrs. Child's in- 
terest in, 43. 

New England Anti-Slavery Society, for- 
mation of the, viii. 

Newman's (Francis W.) works on " The 
Soul," and " Phases of Faith," 139. 

New York draft riots of 1863, 178. 

" North American Review " praises Mrs 
Child, vii. 

Novels and Sermons, comparative valu^ 
of, 192. 



Old Testament, the, injurious influence 
of parts of, 218. 

" Oriental Religions," by Samuel John- 
son, 214. 

Osceola, the Seminole chief, 219. 

Osgood, Miss Lucy, letters to, 61, 76, 
80, 81, 84, 89, 91, 95, 99, 139, 143, 162, 
169, 174, 179, 185, 188, 192, 200, 203, 
204, 209, 211, 212, 214. 

Paine, Thomas, grave of, 16. 

Palfrey, John (i., D. D., liberates the 
slaves bequeathed to him, 56 ; influ- 
enced by Mrs. Child's "Appeal/' 77. 

Parker, Theodore, his first return from 
Europe, 57; farewell note to Mrs. 
Child, 139 ; Weiss's biography of, 179 ; 
magnetic power of, 193. 

Parsons, Mrs. S. M., letters to, 137, 229, 
242, 243. 

Paul, the Apostle, 201,202. 

Personal Liberty Bill of Massachusetts, 
effort to repeal the, 145. 

Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart, 229. 

Phillips, Wendell, confronts a mob 
147-149; defends the Chinese, 251 
tribute of, at Garrison's funeral, 254 
his remarks at Mrs. Child's funeral, 

" Philothea,"by Mrs. Child, xi., 21. 

Pierce, Mrs. E. O, letter to, 42. 

Pierce, Senator, of Maryland, on " Un- 
cle Tom's Cabin,'' 69. 

Pocasset tragedy, the, 254. 

" Princess of Thule," A, by William 
Black, 223. 

' Progress of Religious Ideas," The, by 
Mrs. Child, xii., 65, 77, 265. 

" Progressive Friends," meeting of the, 

Prohibitory law, aim and effect of the, 

Pntestant, reformation, the, helped on 
by base agents, 187. 

Protestant reformation in England, the, 

Quincy, Edmund, presides at an anti- 
slavery meeting, 150 ; anecdote of, 173. 

Randolph, John, on the insecurity of 
slave-holders, 133. 

Raphael and Michael Angelo, 76. 

'Rejected Stoue," The, by M. D. Con- 
way, 160. 

Renan's " Life of Jesus," 245. 

" Richmond Enquirer," the, on the 
subserviency of the North, 73. 

Ripley, George, 22. 

" Romance of the Republic," A, by Mrs. 
Child, xix. 

Rothschilds, the, compel the Emperor of 
Austria to repeal oppressive laws 
against the Jews, 141. 

Russell, Mrs. S. S., letters to, 246, 262. 

Sand, George, 205. 

Sargent, Miss Henrietta, letters to, 24, 
31, 54, 153, 156, 168, 206. 

Savage, Rev. Minot J., 245. 

Scudder, Miss Eliza, letters to, 174, 180, 
182, 183. 196 ; her verses to Mrs. Child, 

Sears, Rev. E. H., 92. 

Searle, Miss Lucy, letters to, 152, 155, 
166, 167, 170. 

Seminole war, origin of the, 218. 

Sewall, Samuel E., letters to, 143, 232; 
Mrs. Child visits, 156. 

Sewall, Mrs. S. E., letters to, 197,234, 
254, 257. 

" Sex in Education," by Dr. E. H 
Clarke, 229. 

Shaw, Miss Sarah, letter to, 12. 

Shaw, Francis G., letters to, 30, 35, 
37, 62, 70, 165, 177, 198, 205, 216, 218, 

Shaw, Hon. Lemuel, letter to, 145. 

Shaw, Colonel Robert G-, 172, 173, 235; 
death of, 176 ; proposed statue of, 
190 ; sword of rescued, 236 ; opposed 
to burning of Darien, 237 ; his grave 
at Fort Wagner, 238 : Whittiers trib- 
ute to, 240. 

Shaw, Mrs. S. B., letters to, 68, 75, 78, 
85, 87, 93, 98, 140, 141, 144, 147, 150, 
164, 171, 172, 176, 180, 189, 190, 195, 
199, 213 218, 222, 224, 226, 229, 233, 
239, 240, 241,245, 246, 252,258. 

Sheridan's (Phil.) barbarities toward the 
Indians, 220. 

Siam, abolition of slavery in, 216. 

Silsbee, Mrs. Nathaniel, letters to, 59, 

Sims, Thomas, the fugitive slave, 144 ; 
his ransom secured by Mrs. Child, 145, 

Slaves, cruelties to, 126-132. 

Smith, Gerrit, makes an anti-slavery 
speech in Congress, 70 ; his regard 
for Mrs. Child, 166. 

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Animals, 213. 

Somerville, Mary, Life of, 222. 

" Spanish Gypsy," The, 197. 

Sphinx, the Egyptian, 71. 

Spirit-photography, 234. 

Sprague, Charles, 235. 

"Standard," the "National Anti-Slav- 
ery," edited by Mrs. Child, xiii., 43; 
letter to, 163. 

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, and " Uncle 
Tom's Cabiu," 69. 

Suffrage for women, appeal to Mr. Sum- 
ner in behalf of, 207. 

Sumner, Charles, speaks in Congress 
against Fugitive Slave Law, 69 ; influ- 
enced by Mrs. Child's "Appeal," 77 ; 
the assault on, 78 ; calls on Mrs. Child, 
88 ; his position on the Mason and Sli- 
dell case, 163 ; Milmore's bust of, 187 ; 
letters to, 207. 

Swedeuborg and the New Church, 202. 

Swedenborg's key of correspondences 

Taine's (H. A.) papers on art 200. 



Tappan, Arthur, threatened with as- 
sassination, 15. 

Taylor, Father, anecdote of, 213. 

Texas question, J. Q. Adams's speeches 
on, viii. 

"The Rebels; a Tale of the Revolu- 
tion," vii. 

"The Right Way the Safe Way," by 
Mrs. Child, 192. 

" The World that I am Passing 
Through," by Mrs. Child, x. 

Thirteenth Amendment to XL S. Consti- 
tution, passage of, 188. 

Thome, James A., denounces slavery, 

Thompson, George, threatened with ab- 
duction from New York, 15 ; speaks 
in the hall of the U. S. House of 
Representatives, 180 ; contrast be- 
tween his first and last visits to the 
United States, 181 ; his explanation of 
England's attitude during the war, 
181 ; lines to, 206 ; reminiscences of, 

Tubman, Harriet, alias " Moses," 161. 

Tucker, St. George, testimony of, against 
slavery, 132, 

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," success of, 69; 

read in Siam, 216. 
Underwood, John C, expelled from 

Virginia, 108. 
Unitarianism a mere half-way house, 

Unitarians, the, and R. W. Emerson, 34 ; 

convocation of, at New York, 189. 

Venus of Milo, the, 172, 218. 
Victor Hugo's tragedy of John Brown, 

Wallcut, Robert F., 234. 

War anecdotes, 158, 161, 180, 204. 

Wasson, David A., 80, 91. 

Wayland, Mass., Mrs. Child's home in, 

Webster, Daniel, willing to defend the 

slave-child Med, 20 ; statue of, 190 ; 

Weiss's (Rev. John) biography of 

Theodore Parker, 179. 
Weld, Angelina Grimke", memorial of, 

Weld, Theodore D., letter to, 258. 
" Westminster Review," The, 202. 
White, Maria, 50. 
Whitney, Miss Anne, letters to, 247, 

256 ; her statue of Samuel Adams, 

Whittier, John G. , biographical sketch 

of Mrs. Child, v.-xxv.,97; lines to Mrs. 

Child, on Ellis Gray Loring, 102; an- 
noyed by curiosity-seekers, 142 ; let* 

ters to, 157, 159, 210, 215, 228, 235, 

236 ; on the death of S. J. May, 212 ; 

his tribute to Colonel Shaw, 240 ; 

lines to Mrs. Child after her death, 

Wightman, James M., 149. 
Wild, Judge, 20. 
Willis, N. P., 58. 
Wilson, Henry, 88. 
Wise, Gov. Henry A., letter of Mrs. 

Child to, 103 ; his reply, 105 ; Mrs. 

Child's rejoinder to, 107 ; speech of, 
in Congress in 1842, 109. 
Wright, Elizur, Jr., barricades his door 

against pro-slavery violence, 16. 
" Woman Question," the, 208, 243-245. 
Woman suffrage, Mrs. Child's letter to 

Mr. Sumner on, 207. 


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